The world’s first photo of the black hole has been released by astronomers, and it looks truly captivating.
It is, said one awed scientist, “like looking at the gates of hell at the end of space and time” https://t.co/0dARx5AbNg
— The Times of London (@thetimes) April 11, 2019
Scientists captured the mesmerising image of the vast black hole, which is three million times larger than the Earth, using a network of eight telescopes around the world.
It has been been dubbed a “monster” and was discovered in a galaxy named M87, according to Professor Heino Falcke, of the Netherland’s Radboud University.
“What we see is larger than the size of our entire Solar System. It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists,” he told BBC News.
“It is an absolute monster, the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe.
The breakthrough, which was highly anticipated, was announced on March 10 in a six paper series published in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Scientists have taken the first ever image of a #blackhole, which is located in 500million trillion km away, three million times the size of the Earth & has been termed by scientists as "a monster". And photographed by a network of eight telescopes across the world. #KatieBouman pic.twitter.com/qhL1o0edkf
— The Hawks (@TheHawksOps) April 11, 2019
“This is a huge day in astrophysics. We’re seeing the unseeable,” said France Córdova, National Science Foundation Director.
“Black holes have sparked imaginations for decades. They have exotic properties and are mysterious to us.
“Yet with more observations like this one, they are yielding their secrets,” she said in a statement.
What an extraordinary day for science! Our investiture speaker @NSF's France Córdova speaks on the role that NSF (and a 1/2 ton of hard drives) played in capturing the first image of a black hole. The @dartmouth community can't wait to hear more from her in June! #EHTblackhole pic.twitter.com/JwqHll9Map
— Dartmouth Engineering (@thayerschool) April 10, 2019
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) captured the first ever image of the black hole, which measures 40 billion km across and is 500 million trillion km away, according to BBC News.
“The image reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87 , a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster,” EHT said.
They are formed after especially large stars collapse. This then generates a large gravitational pull which light cannot escape from. They’re often difficult to view due to their relatively small size.
Scientists have relied on hunting for the rings they produce in the past.
“If immersed in a bright region, like a disc of glowing gas, we expect a black hole to create a dark region similar to a shadow—something predicted by Einstein’s general relativity that we’ve never seen before,” Prof. Falcke added.
Credit: BBC News