Scientists reveal first image ever made of a black hole

Angelo Anderson
April 11, 2019

An worldwide team of astronomers announced Wednesday it had successfully captured the first-ever image of a black hole.

"So, if we're racing towards God's ultimate conclusion, that an angle will stand one foot on land, one foot in the sea and declare that time shall be no more, then tell me how do you do that?"

As stunning and ground-breaking as it is, the EHT project is not just about taking on a challenge. The shadow can be thought of as a magnified image of the event horizon, which is the point of no return for gas falling into the hole. Against the black backdrop of the inky beyond, capturing one is a near impossible task.

Three years ago, scientists used highly sensitive observing equipment to pick up the sound of two smaller black holes coming together to create a gravitational wave. "Once you cross it, you will never be able to get out and you will never be able to communicate", said astronomer Avi Loeb, who is director of the Black Hole Initiative at Harvard but was not involved in the discovery. The image revealed Wednesday showed the edges of the black hole - called the "event horizon" - for the first time. Matter in this disk will convert some of its energy to friction as it rubs against other particles of matter.

'I found a higher resolution picture of that #BlackHole everyone is going on about, ' they wrote, posting a photo of the current US Congress. The closer the matter, the greater the friction. The brightness of the ring of light appears asymmetric because the half of the black hole's accretion disk that is rotating toward Earth emits more light toward our planet than the half that isn't.

Astronomers have published the first reconstructed image of a black hole, from the center of galaxy Messier 87.

Producing the image and analysing such data is an amazingly hard task.

First-Ever Image of Black Hole Revealed
Scientists reveal first image ever made of a black hole

The image shows a glowing mass of plasma with a clear circular area of distorted spacetime in the centre. Well, rather than looking directly at the black hole, the EHT looks at gas surrounding it to take an image of the black hole's shadow. There are also those who saw in the black hole photo proof of humanity's finite time on this Earth. But what exactly is the image showing, and why is the irregular ring orange?

To photograph something so impossibly far away, the team needed a telescope as big as the Earth itself. This observation is a test of "strong gravity", where the differences are large and observable.

The most important initial take-home is that Einstein was right.

The unveiling at the nation's capital took place nearly exactly a century after Albert Einstein became famous for his theory of general relativity, which led to a new conception of the cosmos where space-time could bend, expand, or even disappear into a black hole forever.

"The shadow of the black hole is almost circular, which is consistent with our simulations".

For the first time, we are seeing an image of one of the most mysterious and fascinating corners of the universe: a black hole with 6.5 billion times the mass of our sun.


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