Pictures Don’t Lie: Einstein was right about Black Holes!
In an incredible step forward for space study, a team of 200 scientists made the impossible possible. They captured the first-ever image of a supermassive black hole that lies at the centre of the Messier 87 Galaxy,500 million trillion kilometers away. The black hole is 3 million times the size of the Earth.
It looks like a doughnut with a flaming orange ring surrounding a black centre. The ring is superheated gas falling into the black hole.
The historical image was captured with the event horizon telescope, a network of telescopes from around the globe that work together to create a virtual telescope the size of the earth! It took ten years and the combined effort of 200 people to build the telescope! The data obtained from the telescope was converted into an image by a series of algorithms created by the 29-year-old Dr. Katie Bouman. This is path-breaking on so many levels.
Einstein talked about black holes in his General Theory of Relativity over a hundred years ago! Since then it has been an object of fascination for us all. To know more about black holes, click here.
Since the black hole is something we cannot see, what are we looking at?
There is a region around the black hole known as the event horizon. It is the point of no return. It’s like a boundary, if you cross it and enter the black hole, you are never coming back. So what we have is the image of the silhouette of the black hole.
To see proof of a theory that was developed over a hundred years ago is mind-boggling. “I think it speaks to the human spirit, frankly, that we’re able to pull it off,” Shep Doeleman says, Director of the Event Horizon Telescope project.
Vaijayanti is a writer, a nature enthusiast and an amateur wildlife photographer. She hopes her virtual pen and lens can make the world a better place.