See the first real pictures of a black hole revealed live

Thursday, 11 Apr, 2019

"You could never actually see a black hole but because it is so powerful you can see when matter starts to fall into it, getting closer and closer".

"This technique of linking radio dishes across the globe to create an Earth-sized interferometer, has been used to measure the size of the emission regions of the two supermassive black holes with the largest apparent event horizons", according to EHT.

A breakthrough in black hole detection promises to answer a question that has dogged scientists since Albert Einstein proposed the existence of black holes in his general theory of relativity: how do you document the presence of something that's invisible?

"We have taken the first picture of a black hole", said EHT project director Sheperd S. Doeleman of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard & Smithsonian.

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.

Scientists say black holes are the cosmic residue left in the galaxy after a star dies in an explosive supernova.

The first ever image of a black hole. One light-year is 5.9 trillion miles, or 9.5 trillion kilometers.

More than 13 billion years after they formed, the light that was released to create these distant massive black holes is now reaching our telescopes.

Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) trained its sights on both M87's black hole and Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, the spiral galaxy that contains our solar system. That part, we hope we can see - and that's what the new image should show us.

Black holes are immensely dense objects which don't let anything escape from its gravity, not even light. Its main objective is to directly observe the immediate environment of a black hole. Einstein a century ago even predicted the symmetrical shape that scientists just found. "The theory has passed the crucial test", said Avery Brider, scientist, EHT.

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.

"Science fiction has become science fact", University of Arizona astronomy professor Daniel Marrone said. The telescopes that collected that initial data are located in the US states of Arizona and Hawaii as well as Mexico, Chile, Spain and Antarctica. Since then, telescopes in France and Greenland have been added to the global network.