Huh, So That's A Black Hole

Black hole seen for first time in image showing matter being sucked into timeless oblivion

Black hole seen for first time in image showing matter being sucked into timeless oblivion

Today, scientists behind the Event Horizon Telescope unveiled an image of this phenomenon - not a photograph, but a reconstructed picture of the shadow that the black hole casts on the light behind it, created from data taken by eight telescopes around the world.

The cool image was possible with two years of computer analysis of observations from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a global network of radio antennas.

In order to understand this, one needs to recall that, even though the M87 black hole is a monster (about 40 million kilometers across), it lies at 55 million light-years (520 billion billion kilometers).

If a dying star is massive enough, on the order of 10 or 20 times as massive as our sun, it's likely to collapse into a black hole when it dies. Andrew Mach speaks with Katie Bouman, who was part of that worldwide team of astronomers and developed an algorithm to piece together the historic image.

Einstein said black holes would have gravity so powerful they'd bend the fabric of space and time and be able to keep anything, including light from escaping their grip.

The researchers, who targeted M87's black hole due to its enormous mass and relative proximity to Earth, say while the image produced is slightly blurry, future photos will be clearer as more telescopes are added to the EHT.

The bright ring in the image is caused by the incredible pull the black hole exerts on nearby matter. "We have seen and taken a picture of a black hole", said Sheperd Doeleman of Harvard University.

But researchers including astrophysicists at University College London (UCL), looked for the shadows cast by super-heated bits of space rock and dust as they tumbled into the black hole.

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The legendary former player said he plans to go back to community work, where he can help players more with their development. The Lakers finish the 2018-19 campaign with a 37-45 record, keeping them out of the playoffs for a sixth year in a row.

The unprecedented image - so often imagined in science and science fiction - has been analysed in six studies co-authored by 200 experts from 60-odd institutions and published on Wednesday in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The M87 black hole observed by the scientific team resides about 54 million light-years from Earth and boasts an almost-unimaginable mass of 6.5 billion times that of the sun.

The new image confirmed yet another piece of Einstein's general theory of relativity. The conditions near the event horizon of a supermassive black hole are so extreme that they put unprecedented pressure on Einstein's laws.

The image of a black hole that's captivating people across the globe was the result of work from 200 scientists from 20 countries, including University of MI alum Katie Bouman. No - it's a black hole! "Yet, with more observations like this one, they are yielding their secrets", Dr. France A. Córdova, the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), said during a Wednesday news conference in Washington D.C. "It's nearly humbling in a certain way", said Shep Doeleman, the project's director.

"It's a long way away", he said.

"We are now studying how to move the telescope to the Greenland Summit, and how to construct the telescope site at the Summit", explained Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂), an Academia research fellow and one of the leading scientists in EHT.

Professor Davis said she was "dumbstruck" when she saw the image.

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