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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Black hole event horizon: Here is what it looks like

Black Hole Event Horizon: The first photo looks like a "ring of light surrounding a dark circle deep in the heart of the galaxy known as Messier 87, some 55 million light-years away from here, resembled the Eye of Sauron", the New York Times reported.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: April 11, 2019 7:52:13 am
black hole, black hole live, first image of black hole, black hole first image, black hole first image 2019, black hole event horizon telescope, black hole event horizon telescope, black hole image, black hole image india, eht black hole, eht black hole, eht black hole picture, back hole first picture First ever image of a black hole. Captured by Event Horizon Telescope project. (Image source: National Science Foundation)

Astronomers released the first-ever photographic image of a black hole today. The first photograph, which comes from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, shows the black hole that is at elliptical galaxy Messier 87 or M87. The EHT is a network of 10 radio telescopes on four continents that collectively operate like a single instrument nearly the size of the Earth.

“We’ve exposed a part of our universe we’ve never seen before,” The New York times quoted Shep Doeleman, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and director of the effort to capture the image, during a Wednesday news conference in Washington, D.C. The first photo looks like a “ring of light surrounding a dark circle deep in the heart of the galaxy known as Messier 87, some 55 million light-years away from here, resembled the Eye of Sauron”, the New York Times reported.

EXPLAINED | Here is a black hole, and why none was photographed before

The EHT project is an international partnership formed in 2012. Its main objective is to directly observe the immediate environment of a black hole. The findings will provide insight into the celestial object so dense that their gravitational field swallows everything including light.

Black holes are extremely dense pockets of matter with incredible mass and minuscule volume. They drastically warp the fabric of space-time and anything that passes too close gets sucked into it be it a wandering star or a photon of light. Black holes exist from the size of a human cell to more massive than the sun.

Black holes of stellar mass are formed when a massive star collapses at the end of its life cycle. After a black hole forms, it continues to grow by absorbing mass from its surroundings.

“The imagery is mind-blowing enough in its own right. But even more significant is the trail the new results will likely blaze,” Space.com reported quoting researchers.

Peter Galison, a physics professor at Harvard University who co-founded Harvard’s interdisciplinary Black Hole Initiative (BHI), compared the imagery’s potential impact to that of the drawings made by English scientist Robert Hooke in the 1600s, which showed people what insects and plants look like through a microscope, the report said.

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