Scientists Share the First-Ever Photo of a Black Hole

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"I think this image will be an important part of astronomy going forward for years to come", Doeleman said, adding, "To know that these monsters exist, that is humbling".

Jessica Dempsey is deputy director of the East Asian Observatory in Hawaii and a co-discoverer in the project. Physicists now strongly suspect that this point is a supermassive black hole.

Black holes are formed when huge stars collapse at the end of their life cycle, but because they do not allow light to escape, it can be hard to see them. This is an opportunity for scientists to test some of the most complex predictions of general relativity.

Outside scientists suggested the achievement could be worthy of a Nobel Prize, just like the gravitational wave discovery.

Created using data from eight radio telescopes around the earth run by a global consortium of scientific institutions, the Event Horizon Telescope's image could prove as much of an iconic image of a black hole as the 1972 photo taken from Apollo 17 is of our planet.

"One really has to use the theory of general relativity to really appreciate the true meaning of black holes", says Dr. Lai. That's because that light is approaching Earth.

The drawback of this technique is that it requires advanced mathematics and enormous computing power to produce an image that makes sense to the human eye. "Making it these warm gold and oranges makes sense".

What's new here is that the Event Horizons Telescope imaged the shadow that the black hole creates against the surrounding, glowing matter of the object's accretion disk (the hot matter falling quickly toward the black hole's event horizon).

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The project cost $50 million to $60 million, with $28 million of that coming from the National Science Foundation.

Johns Hopkins astrophysicist Ethan Vishniac, who was not part of the EHT team but edits the journal where the research was published, called the image "an wonderful technical achievement" that "gives us a glimpse of gravity in its most extreme manifestation".

Alas, this Penn State University astronomer swooped in to deflate the comparison. The mystique of black holes in the community is very substantial.

Markoff said the team has not started a full analysis of the image and that it will help researchers create models to understand what exactly happens around black holes. But the person would never be heard from or seen again. M87's black hole seems to have a far brighter crescent-like shape on the bottom left.

If you want an explanation of how it all went down, you could do no better than seeing our resident handsome science expert Alan Duffy explaining it on ABC News Breakfast while barely being able to stop himself from leaping out of his seat with pure joy. Astronomers released the eerie image of the black hole at the center of galaxy Messier 87 (M87) today, but it was the culmination of several years of work spanning facilities across the globe. A light-year, which measures distance in space, equals 6 trillion miles. Black holes are the universe's most powerful vacuum.

Each radio telescope captured a vast amount of incoming radio photons, but with nowhere near enough detail to spot the shadow of the black hole surrounded by its accretion disk.

"It's unbelievable to me that we can. see a supermassive black hole in the heart of a galaxy 55 million light years away".

"So, if we're racing towards God's ultimate conclusion, that an angle will stand one foot on land, one foot in the sea and declare that time shall be no more, then tell me how do you do that?" But the more distant one was easier to take pictures of because it rotates more slowly.

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