The first-ever photo of a black hole


( from CNN)
It’s been a great year so far for space fans, with a partial solar eclipsesuper blood wolf moon eclipse, and a Venus and Jupiter conjunction wowing onlookers.

Now there may be another exciting development to look forward to: the first ever photos of a black hole.
Scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration will present a “groundbreaking result” from the project on April 10, according to a media advisory.
Anticipation is building ahead of the event, which will feature simultaneous press conferences in cities across the world and live streams in different languages.


The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of a black hole. In coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers revealed that they succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of the supermassive black hole in the centre of Messier 87 and its shadow. The shadow of a black hole seen here is the closest we can come to an image of the black hole itself, a completely dark object from which light cannot escape. The black hole’s boundary — the event horizon from which the EHT takes its name — is around 2.5 times smaller than the shadow it casts and measures just under 40 billion km across. While this may sound large, this ring is only about 40 microarcseconds across — equivalent to measuring the length of a credit card on the surface of the Moon. Although the telescopes making up the EHT are not physically connected, they are able to synchronize their recorded data with atomic clocks — hydrogen masers — which precisely time their observations. These observations were collected at a wavelength of 1.3 mm during a 2017 global campaign. Each telescope of the EHT produced enormous amounts of data – roughly 350 terabytes per day – which was stored on high-performance helium-filled hard drives. These data were flown to highly specialised supercomputers — known as correlators — at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and MIT Haystack Observatory to be combined. They were then painstakingly converted into an image using novel computational tools developed by the collaboration.


“Have you heard that something is brewing on April 10th? It’s no joke!” reads a tweet from the collaboration.
The collaboration, called EHT, is a global network of telescopes that has been attempting to capture the first photograph of a black hole ever.

The EHT project released this simulation image showing the accretion flow around Sagittarius A

The first target is Sagittarius A, the site of a supermassive black hole 26,000 light years away from Earth, and the second is at the center of a galaxy known as M87.
Black holes are made up of huge amounts of matter squeezed into a small area, according to NASA, creating a massive gravitational field which draws in everything around it, including light.
In their attempt to capture an image of a black hole, scientists combined the power of eight radio telescopes around the world using Very-Long-Baseline-Interferometry, according to the European Southern Observatory, which is part of the EHT.
This effectively creates a virtual telescope around the same size as the Earth itself.
Dong Lai, astronomy professor and black hole expert at Cornell University believes that the EHT team is gearing up for a big reveal.
“My guess is EHT will produce an image of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy and also an image of one at the center of the nearby galaxy M87,” said Lai, who is not involved in the EHT project, in a press release.

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