First Photo Of Black Hole 50 Million Light-Years Away!
A team of more than 200 international scientists used a world-spanning network of telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope to see and capture the first-ever picture of a Black Hole, according to an announcement by researchers at the National Science Foundation Wednesday morning. They captured an image of the supermassive Black Hole and its shadow at the center of a galaxy known as M87, a huge elliptical galaxy that lies 55 million light-years from Earth.
BLACK HOLE PHOTOGRAPHY IS UNTHINKABLE
The first-ever photo of a Black Hole is a groundbreaking event in the history of the World. “We have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen and taken a picture of a Black Hole,” Sheperd Doeleman, EHT Director and astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., said April 10, 2019 in Washington, D.C., at one of seven concurrent news conferences. “We’ve been studying Black Holes so long; sometimes it’s easy to forget that none of us have actually seen one,” France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, said at the Washington, D.C., news conference.
WHAT IS A BLACK HOLE?
A Black Hole is a region of space whose mass is so large and dense that not even light can escape its gravitational attraction. Against the pitch black backdrop of the opaque beyond, capturing one is a near impossible task. But thanks to Stephen Hawking’s revolutionary work, we know that the colossal masses are not just black abysses. Not only are they able to emit monstrous jets of plasma, but their tremendous gravity pulls in streams of matter into its core.
BLACK HOLES ARE BEAUTIFUL AND DISTURBING
The first-ever photo of a Black Hole offered a final, thundering affirmation of an concept so perplexing that even Einstein, from whose equations Black Holes emerged, was afraid to accept it. “The Einstein equations are beautiful,” said Avery Broderick, physicist and associate professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. “Sometimes the math looks ugly, but there’s a really strong aesthetic in theoretical physics.” If too much matter is crammed into one place, the cumulative force of gravity becomes overwhelming, and the place becomes an eternal trap. According to Einstein’s theory, matter, space and time come to an end and vanish like a dream. As far as the team of astronomers could ascertain, the shape of the shadow is circular, as Einstein’s theory predicts.
SHE CRACKED THE BLACK HOLE ALGORITHM
Dr. Katie Bouman, a computer scientist, created the algorithm that made it possible to assemble the first-ever photo of a Black Hole. She worked on the algorithm for almost six years, beginning when she was a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed,” she posted on Facebook. Dr. Bouman was celebrated by many, with some heralding her as a role model for women in the fields of science and math.
To learn more about this groundbreaking photo, click HERE to check out the press release from the National Science Foundation.