What an amazing achievement!!!
Just consider that the photograph of the black hole seen below was taken at the center of a galaxy that is 55 million light-years away from earth! That’s 186,282 (miles per second) x 60 (seconds) x 60 (minutes) x 24 (hours) x 365 (days) x 55,000,000 (years)!!!
What man has achieved through science in the last 200 years is really and truly remarkable!!! TGO
Refer to story below. Source: The Telegraph
The first direct evidence of a black hole has been observed by scientists who recorded swirling matter heating up as it was pulled towards the event horizon after which nothing can escape.
The image, captured by a global team of more than 200 scientists using eight telescopes, is the first visual proof of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity which predicts that when enough mass collapses together it deforms spacetime creating a gravity field that pulls even light inside.
Until now black holes have only been seen indirectly through their impact on nearby galaxies and stars, and it was thought they would be impossible to ever observe.
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.
The image shows a glowing mass of plasma with a clear circular area of distorted spacetime in the centre.
“We have accomplished something many thought impossible by imaging the shadow of a black hole and it provides the strongest evidence to date that such evasive and enigmatic entities do indeed exist,” said Dr Ziri Younsi (UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory), part of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration.
“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.
“I was amazed to see the image. I got a sense of tremendous excitement. It’s something we have been working on for 10 years and actually the image was surprisingly unsurprising. Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicted an image like this.
“But at the same time I thought, wow, what does this mean now? How will this help our understanding of the universe. We now need to start analysing the granular image and get into the nitty gritty.
“Black holes are such mysterious objects. They represent a point of the universe which is really also the edge of time. If you dropped a torch into one you would see the light extend forever getting dimmer and dimmer but taking an infinite time to reach the event horizon.”
Scientists now believe supermassive black holes lurk at the heart of most galaxies. The new image is of a supermassive black hole at the centre of the distant galaxy, Messier 87, which is 55 million light-years away in the Virgo galaxy cluster.
It measures just under 25 billion miles (40 billion kilometres) across, which is around three million times the diameter of the Earth and has a mass of 6.5 billion times that of the Sun.
Although supermassive black holes are relatively tiny astronomical objects, it was predicted to be one of the largest viewable black holes from Earth, making it the perfect target for the EHT project.
The EHT is an international collaboration specifically set up to image a black hole by linking eight ground-based radio telescopes globally to make an Earth-sized virtual telescope with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution.
The eight telescopes located in volcanoes in Hawaii and Mexico, the mountains of Arizona, the Spanish Sierra Nevada, the Chilean Atacama Desert, and Antarctica act work together like a composite eye, gazing up at the stars.
M87’s black hole is around 2.5 times smaller than the shadow it casts, but appears larger because it’s dramatic impact on spacetime and light. Essentially it is the shadow of matter falling into it that creates the dark circle.