The first image of a black hole was collected by scientists using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the M87 galaxy core.
The image shows a bright ring shaped as light bends around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun in its extreme gravity.
A black hole forms when a large, dying star collapses. The gravity created by this condensing matter completely overpowers any outward forces, including light.
Although a black hole emits no light, its presence is detectable by radio astronomy equipment. Its extremely strong gravitational pull sucks gas and dust toward itself, forming a whirling accretion disk around the hole. The disk heats any matter that crosses it emitting X-rays (opposite).
How They captured it
Researchers had theorized that by recording their silhouettes against their dazzling surroundings they could picture black holes, they were still eluded by the ability to imagine an object so distant. Then A team formed to take on the challenge, building a telescope network known as the Event Horizon Telescope, or the EHT.
They set out to capture a black hole image by building on a method that enables far-away artifacts to be imaged, known as Very Long Baseline Interferometry, or VLBI.
EHT is currently a project consisting of eight separate telescopes working in synchronicity at various observatories around the world to photograph the black holes in the center of M87 as well as the supermassive black hole in the center of our own Milky Way galaxy, Sagittarius A.
The Black hole picture comes from data captured over a span of nine days in April 2017.
It’s taken two years to actually unpack and analyze all of the observatories’ data, in part because the files are too massive to transfer digitally.
Hard drives had to be physically ferried from the observatories in order for scientists to process the data.
Especially due to extreme weather, the Antarctic dataset remained inaccessible for months.
Totally scientists unpacked 5 petabytes of Balck hole data results the pretty amazing Black hole
In April 2017, All the telescopes were synchronized by the astronomers to measure the radio waves emitted from the black hole event horizon, all at the same time. The synchronization of the telescopes was similar to the creation of an earth-sized telescope with an impressive 20 microarcsecond resolution.
They then took, analyzed and compiled all these raw measurements into the picture you see.
EHT has observed the black holes in just one frequency light with a wavelength of 1.3 millimeters. But the project soon plans to look at the 0.87-mm frequency as well, which should lead to additional 30% angular resolution improvement.
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This movie shows a complete revolution around a simulated black hole and its accretion disk following a path that is perpendicular to the disk. The black hole’s extreme gravitational field redirects and distorts light coming from different parts of the disk, but exactly what we see depends on our viewing angle. The greatest distortion occurs when viewing the system nearly edgewise. As our viewpoint rotates around the black hole, we see different parts of the fast-moving gas in the accretion disk moving directly toward us. Due to a phenomenon called “relativistic Doppler beaming,” gas in the disk that’s moving toward us makes that side of the disk appear brighter, the opposite side darker. This effect disappears when we’re directly above or below the disk because, from that angle, none of the gas is moving directly toward us. When our viewpoint passes beneath the disk, it looks like the gas is moving in the opposite direction. This is no different that viewing a clock from behind, which would make it look like the hands are moving counter-clockwise. CORRECTION: In earlier versions of the 360-degree movies on this page, these important effects were not apparent. This was due to a minor mistake in orienting the camera relative to the disk. The fact that it was not initially discovered by the NASA scientist who made the movie reflects just how bizarre and counter-intuitive black holes can be! Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman #blackhole #m80 #astrophysics #nasa #blackholesimulation #eht #eventhorizontelescope