Published: Fri, April 12, 2019
Culture | By Jeremy Gray

Remarkable photo of black hole released in astrophysics breakthrough

Remarkable photo of black hole released in astrophysics breakthrough

There actually were a few academic holdouts who denied black holes existed, but now they can't, said Boston University astronomer Alan Marscher, who was on one of four imaging teams.

UA scientists were key players in giving us our first look at a black hole. The photo of the black hole at the centre of Messier 87, or M87, a massive galaxy in the relatively nearby Virgo galaxy cluster, shows a glowing ring of red, yellow and white surrounding a dark centre.

After all, black holes are among the most powerful forces and biggest mysteries in the universe.

WASHINGTON-Humanity got its first glimpse Wednesday of the cosmic place of no return: a black hole.

News conferences were held in Washington, Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo to disclose a "groundbreaking result" from the Event Horizon Telescope project, begun in 2012 to directly observe a black hole using a global network of telescopes and worldwide cooperation of more than 200 researchers. It took two years to collect and analyze the 5 petabyes of data collected from the telescope network observations.

The image of matter surrounding the edge of the black hole confirms Einstein by forming the near ideal circle he predicted. Specifically, the mass of the Black hole in M87 was to determine: It has, therefore, 6.5 billion Times the mass of our sun.

Astrophysicist Avery Broderick, a member of the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, said he was "a little stunned" that the image matched simulations so closely.

"Black holes are stranger than anything ever dreamt up by science fiction writers, but they are firmly matters of science fact". "When we saw this come into focus, our jaws dropped", astrophysicist Shep Doeleman said.

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He said: "The history of man and of science will be divided into the time before the image and the time after the image". The mystique of black holes in the community is very substantial.

But we're not looking at the black hole completely head on, and that's the origin of the other main difference. It shows visual evidence of the event horizon of a black hole and allow us to see something previously thought to be invisible. We do not know for sure if the astronomers have been able to record an image of the black hole.

Dr Bouman became an global sensation with her name and image trending on Twitter in the hours after the revolutionary photo's release. "Something I've been working on for many, many years, trying to build a physical model of a black hole environment and predictions, and the opportunity to study the hearts of black holes is fantastic".

Researchers said that Sagittarius A* was too "active" to capture a clear picture, but the M87 blackhole - which measures 40 billion km across - was more photogenic.

The telescope data was gathered by the Event Horizon Telescope two years ago, but it took so long to complete the image because it was a massive undertaking, involving about 200 scientists, supercomputers and hundreds of terabytes of data delivered worldwide by plane. That's three million times the size of the Earth.

The first picture of a supermassive black hole has been finally captured by scientists, making it one of the biggest space breakthroughs.

As they analyzed the image and related data, astronomers also grew increasingly confident with other assumptions they've made based on theories about the workings of the universe.

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