First image of A Black Hole from Event Horizon Telescope Released
For the first time scientists have successfully captured and released an image of a black hole.
The Event Horizon Telescope project released the image after spending weeks observing the supermassive black hole at the center of the Messier 87 (M87) galaxy.
The image is best described as a black disk surrounded by the bright ring of the black hole’s accretion disk. However, it also suspiciously resembles the Eye of Sauron.
The most interesting thing about the image is that it shows black holes behave just as the scientific community have theorized. The shadowy, dark center is the best representation we can capture because its boundary, the event horizon, is the point at which light cannot escape the gravitational pull of a black hole.
For a stronger understanding of the science behind why a black hole would appear to look this way check out this excellent video (9 minutes) from Veritasium.
Black holes are virtually invisible despite the extreme amounts of mass of which they are made. The EHT team chose to target M87 because the black hole at its center is both supermassive, with 6.5 billion times more mass than the Sun, and because it is relatively close to Earth, at only 55 million light-years away. The culmination of these two facts made it the perfect target for EHT.
About the EHT
The Event Horizon Telescope is not a single stationary telescope. It is an array of radio telescopes positioned around the globe, effectively creating an Earth-sized telescope. According to the EHT website, the creation of the EHT was a “formidable challenge”, requiring collaboration and intricate time keeping across the 8 pre-existing telescopes in locations ranging from, “volcanoes in Hawaii and Mexico, mountains in Arizona and the Spanish Sierra Nevada, the Chilean Atacama Desert, and Antarctica.”
This is an awesome day for science. Let us know what you think in the comments below.