A virtual telescope the size of the planet Earth captured the first picture of a black hole a century after Einstein’s equations have predicted the existence of black holes. Particularly, the picture captured by the Event Horizon Telescope was the cryptic region defined by the hole’s event horizon, the point beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape. We’ve seen what we thought was unseeable, said Shep Doeleman, a radio astronomer at the Harvard University Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and director of the Event Horizon Telescope job. We’ve seen, and taken a picture of, a black hole. This really is a remarkable accomplishment.Video Credits to CNN #Black_Hole_1st_Image
The target was a huge black hole, 6.5 billion times more massive than the sun, at the core of M-87, a giant elliptical galaxy about 55 million light years away from the constellation Virgo. A target for amateur astronomers, the M-87 is among the brightest radio sources in the skies, with a massive jet of material moving away from the nucleus fed by a voracious black hole. The black hole’s six half billion solar masses have been crammed into a region about the size of a solar system.
Picture captured by Event Horizon Telescope shows black core, the event horizon, surrounded with an unbalanced ring of light emitted by particles racing around a black hole in the speed of light.
It closely resembles what astronomers anticipated based on simulations running the equations of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
Picturing the Black hole imagelong-awaited announcement has been made concurrently at several press conferences around the globe by scientists participating in the event horizon telescope job. The scale of the event was reminiscent of the statements surrounding the discovery of the Higgs boson and the first detection of gravitational waves. The globe spanning network of radio dishes, atomic clocks and computers making up the Event Horizon Telescope is anticipated to picture Sagittarius A, or Sgr A for brief, the supermassive black hole in the heart of the Milky Way.
Unlike the beast powering M-87, Sgr A is a comparatively small 4.3 million solar mass black hole filling a volume smaller compared to Earth’s solar system. It’s located 26, 000 light years away in the heart of the Milky Way, generating huge gravitational effects that could be seen at the movements of the nearby stars. These movements at the heart of the galaxy have been studied for decades, supplying the mass of the hole along with some other insights, but no one has ever viewed the black hole itself. Although black holes, by definition, can’t be seen, radiation produced by gas and dust as material is sucked in at large speeds and heated to extreme temperatures is visible through wavelengths.
The M-87 images are the first direct view of a supermassive black hole, or rather the shadow of its event horizon, the limit that defines where the ordinary universe endings and the unknowable begins. Whatever crosses the event horizon, be it a photon, atomic particle or astronaut, is lost to the known world.