|Scientists have obtained the first-ever image of a black hole — at center of the galaxy M87. Credit: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.|
Topics: Astrophysics, Black Holes, Cosmology, Einstein
(Yesterday) At six simultaneous press conferences around the globe, astronomers on Wednesday announced they had accomplished the seemingly impossible: taking a picture of a black hole, a cosmic monster so voracious that light itself cannot escape its clutches.
This historic feat, performed by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)—a planet-spanning network of radio observatories—required more than a decade of effort. The project’s name refers to a black hole’s most defining characteristic, an “event horizon” set by the object’s mass and spin beyond which no infalling material, including light, can ever return.
“We have taken the first picture of a black hole,” the EHT project’s director, Sheperd Doeleman, said in a news release. “This is an extraordinary scientific feat accomplished by a team of more than 200 researchers.”
The image unveils the shadowy face of a 6.5-billion-solar-mass supermassive black hole at the core of Messier 87 (M87), a large galaxy some 55 million light-years from Earth in the Virgo galaxy cluster. Such objects are a reflection of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which predicts that only so much material can be squeezed into any given volume before the overwhelming force of its accumulated gravity causes a collapse—a warp in the fabric of spacetime that swallows itself. Left behind is an almost featureless nothingness that, for lack of better terms, scientists simply call a black hole.
"Gargantua," special effects from the movie, Interstellar, 2014 (Kip Thorne et al guessed right):
|Image Source: HDQ Walls dot com|
At Last, a Black Hole’s Image Revealed, Lee Billings, Scientific American