For the first time, humans can look at an actual image of a supermassive black hole, something that has been achieved by the collaboration of supercomputers, eight telescopes commissioned around the world over five continents, hundreds of researchers, and enormous amounts of data.
The results of this project called as Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), were announced today at a press conferences streamed simultaneously around the globe.
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of a black hole. Today, in coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers reveal that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the centre of the galaxy M87.
What is Black Hole?
Black holes are extraordinary cosmic objects with immense volumes but extremely compact sizes. The presence of these objects affects their surroundings in absolute ways, warping spacetime and super-heating any enclosing matter.
The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. This long-sought image provides the strongest evidence to date for the existence of supermassive black holes and opens a new window onto the study of black holes, their event horizons, and gravity.
This discovery was announced today in a series of six papers published in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The photograph unveils the black hole at the core of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun.
“We have taken the first picture of a black hole,” said EHT project director Sheperd S. Doeleman of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian. “This is an extraordinary scientific feat accomplished by a team of more than 200 researchers.”
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