In April 2017, the eight radio telescopes around the world turned in the same direction. His goal was ambitious: to visualize the shadow of the horizon of the events of a supermassive black hole. To date, they have exposed the first image of the black hole in the center of Messier 87, a large galaxy located in the group of galaxies of the Virgin, located nearby.
According to the photo, it is not the direct black hole, but its shadow. Black holes have the potential to create a gravity field without including visible light. Instead, this image indicates the horizon of the events of the black hole, the whirlwind of dust, gas and stars and, most importantly, the light (hence the image) that surrounds the black hole before it is aspirated, and the shadow of the black hole beyond.
Michelle Creech-Eakman is one of the many people who lead the development of an unusual new telescope. Known as the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer, it will consist of 10 individual telescopes. Astronomers combine their light to provide extremely sharp views of astronomical objects, sharper than any other telescope to date. And you will see objects that are paler than any other optical interferometer.
The consortium was able to achieve this incredible feat using a phenomenon called interferometry. When you see it at the same time with two very distant telescopes, you can group the observations in an incredible way. The EHT telescopes extend all over the world, from Chile to Spain through Hawaii and Mexico, to the South Pole. Together, these people have the power of a single telescope the size of the Earth, the only method that would allow them to collect enough data to see M87 in this way.
“If you are immersed in an illuminated region, like a disk of sparkling gas, we expect a black hole to create a shadowy dark region, which Einstein’s general relativity predicted, which we had never seen before,” said the president of the EHT. Heino Falcke Scientific Council of the Radboud University (Netherlands) in a statement. “This shadow, caused by the gravitational tilt and the capture of light by the event horizon, says a lot about the nature of these fascinating objects and allowed us to measure the huge mass of the M87 black hole.”
The giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 (M87, NGC 4486), also called Virgin A, is one of the most remarkable objects in the sky. M87 was discovered and cataloged by Charles Messier on March 18, 1781, while cataloging another 8 nebulous objects. The diameter of M87, apparently around 7 feet, corresponds to a linear extension of 120,000 light years, more than the diameter of the disk of our Milky Way.
“Once we were confident that we had shadow images, we were able to compare our observations with many computer models, including deformed space physics, superheated matter, and strong magnetic fields.” Many of the features of the observed image are surprisingly consistent with our theoretical understanding, “said Paul TP Ho, member of the ISE Board and Director of the East Asia Observatory. “This gives us confidence in the interpretation of our observations, including our estimate of the black hole mass.”
This observation about the posterior hole is a surprising achievement, but at the same time, it is also a critical test for Einstein’s theory of general relativity, quantum mechanics and some astrophysical theories. The more information related to this, several articles have been published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
It’s always fun for everyone, what’s inside? However, there is only one minor certainty about the black hole.
“Black holes have sparked the imagination for decades,” said France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation. “They have exotic properties and we are mysterious, but with more observations like this, they reveal their secrets, that’s why NSF exists, we allow scientists and engineers to illuminate the unknown and reveal the subtle and complex majesty of our universe.”