Our universe is very vast and it is still expanding. There are many things we don’t know about our universe. We are continuously searching for things in it by using all sorts of technology. Black holes are the objects that are very difficult to understand as even light is unable to escape from it. It is extremely difficult for us to manage to capture a picture of it. Our scientists spent a lot of time and resources which eventually bear fruit as they are able to get an image of a black hole. The only ever captured image of a black hole.
How do scientists know that there’re black holes?
Black holes aren’t black in color. They just can’t be seen as light is unable to escape from it. Scientists study the nearby objects around it and can observe the effects of gravity on it. They study the motion of stars whether they are orbiting or are attracted to the black hole. When stars come close to the black hole; plenty of light emits from it. We cannot see the light with our naked eyes. Researchers use telescopes or satellites to observe this.
Location of a Black Hole
Most of the black holes are found in the center of the galaxy. Initially, scientists want to capture the image of the Sagittarius A+ – the black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, but then they sought another black hole in the Messier 87 Galaxy; which is 6 billion times massive than our sun. It is 55 million light-years away from Earth.
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They sought that black hole because albeit Sagittarius A+ is closest to Earth as compared to the other; due to which image can’t be captured. They are too close that scientists are unable to identify the difference in the brightness of the plasma oozing out from its aggression disk. And also there is so much dusts that foe our telescope to penetrate such an amount of dust is almost impossible.
They sought to the black in the Messier 87 galaxy (M87) because it is much bigger in size. And it is very much easy to identify the difference in the brightness of the plasma oozing out of the aggression disk.
Details About the First Image
Approximately, 100 years ago renowned scientists Einstein gave the theory of relativity, which describes the distortion of space and time. His field equation also predicts an object which has infinite gravity and time in which will almost stop. This is where we start our journey in order to find this strange object. After that Karl Schwarzschild gives us further information and discovered the black hole.
Scientists tried for many years but are not able to capture any image of the black hole; which questions the existence of them. But on “10 April 2019” scientists capture the first image of a black hole. It is exactly how the scientists imagine and Einstein’s theory of relativity describes.
“Event Horizon telescope” captured the first-ever image of the black hole. It is unique because it is not only one telescope, on the contrary, it is a network of the telescopes which cover all the Earth. Such a network is created because the light waves around the black hole are in a circular pattern and due to the large distance between Earth and the black hole; it turns plain when reaches Earth. We need a telescope of Earth’s size for capturing data which is clearly impossible to create such a large telescope. By creating networks all over the Earth we can utilize the Earth’s rotation. They all work simultaneously like they are one; they work like the telescope of Earth’s size.
The data recorded by the team of researchers is not in Mb or Gb, in fact, it’s in petabytes. Now, we needed to bring all the collected data to one place. Since the data is in such a terrifying amount it is arduous for us to mobilize it from one place to another. After some time the data is combined with the help of a supercomputer and the image is reconstructed. In this project 200 astronomers’ data collected on 9 papers. On 10 April 2019, it is published. (Thanks!)
This is the hard work of so many people and it matched the image we expected. Soon, we will be able to capture the image of Sagittarius A. (Good luck!)
Yashika Jain is a science student. She is astrophile and loves to explore and write about the various things and events of the universe.