The Event Horizon Telescope apparently had succeeded to complete its ten-day long task of taking the very first picture of a black hole even before it was planned. The image is not going to be published yet.
The Even Horizon Telescope resulted from an alliance between scientists from different observatories around the world. After five nights of observations, today astronomers revealed they had finally captured the first-ever image of the famous gravitational sinkhole known as a black hole. They supermassive black holes they observed were Sagittarius A*, which is the black hole located in the middle of our galaxy, and the one in the core of galaxy M87.
The image might be ready by the end of 2017
For the past week, Vicent Fish along his team from the MIT Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts, have barely closed an eye, since they have been working 24/7 to accomplish their task. As the last of the data arrived at the observatories, all the astronomers and engineers were celebrating, and Fish was listening to the chords of bohemian rhapsody.
“I’m very happy and very relieved, and I’m looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep,” Fish says.
However, they are not sure yet about their success, because there is a lot of data to be processed in the forthcoming months, and though, they are confident they have finally captured a black hole for the first time, the actual photos are not going to be available until the end of 2017. All the scientists involved is especially interested in having the picture of the event horizon, which is a difficult region that surrounds the black hole. The event horizon is the limit beyond which nothing at all can escape.
Scientists are going to test Einstein’s theory of gravity
Einstein proposed for the first time the existence of extremely massive black holes in 1915, but even he doubted his prediction afterward. Radio astronomer Heino Falcke – of Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands – said that black holes are the ultimate endpoint of space and time.
Falcke said that even if the Even Horizon Telescope’s images turn out to be terrible, they will still try to test basic predictions made by Einstein with the collected data. According to Falcke, this images will indeed turn black holes from some mythical conception to something concrete that can be studied.
“Even if the first images are still crappy and washed out, we can already test for the first time some basic predictions of Einstein’s theory of gravity in the extreme environment of a black hole,” said Falcke.
Getting this far took several years of study and coordination, besides the necessary cooperation between different observatories around the world, going from Hawaii to the South Pole. The Event Horizon Telescope focused on two supermassive black holes: the four-times the sun size, Sagittarius A*, which lies at the heart of this galaxy, and a super black hole about 1,500 times heavier at the core of the nearby galaxy M87.
Source: National Geographic