Scientists’ reveals first-ever photo of black hole
WASHINGTON: It’s our first glimpse of one of the weirdest spectacles in the universe. Astronomers on Wednesday released humanity’s first-ever image of a black hole.
The picture reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. It looked like a flaming orange, yellow and black ring.
“We have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen and taken a picture of a black hole,” said Sheperd Doeleman, Event Project Horizon project director of Harvard University. “This is an extraordinary scientific feat accomplished by a team of more than 200 researchers.”
Since the black hole is, well, black, what we’re seeing in the image is gas and dust circling around the hole, just far enough away to be safe.
This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun.
The image helps confirm Einstein’s general relativity theory. Einstein a century ago even predicted the symmetrical shape that scientists just found.
The European Southern Observatory has released the first-ever glimpse of Sagittarius A, the collapsed star is in the center of our Milk Way galaxy. USA TODAY
“These remarkable new images of the M87 black hole prove that Einstein was right yet again,” said Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Images came from the Event Horizon Telescope, a collection of telescopes around the world specifically designed to peer at black holes. The telescopes are in Chile, Hawaii, Arizona, Mexico, Spain and at the South Pole.
A handout photo provided by the European Southern Observatory on April 10, 2019 shows the first photograph of a black hole and its fiery halo, released by Event Horizon Telescope astronomers (EHT), which is the “most direct proof of their existence,” one of the project’s lead scientists told AFP.
The telescope caught whatever light it was able to detect from near the black hole. By combining the data from the various telescopes placed around the world, the Event Horizon Telescope has as much magnifying power as a telescope the size of the entire Earth.
Most black holes are the condensed remnants of a massive star, the collapsed core that remains following an explosive supernova. A black hole’s gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape their grasp.
The new image was published Wednesday in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Wednesday’s announcement was made at news events around the world, in locations such as Washington, D.C., Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo.