Black hole photographed for the first time ever

Based on inputs by Meeta Kapoor

The astronomers have released the first photo of black hole. The photo shows a flaming yellow and black ring. The black hole that has been photographed is 50 million light years away in a galaxy known as M87. As per scientists locking down an image of M87’s supermassive black hole at such distance is comparable to photographing a pebble on the Moon. The image was captured by eight linked telescopes, together called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).

he astronomers have released the first photo of black hole. The photo shows a flaming yellow and black ring. The black hole that has been photographed is 50 million light years away in a galaxy known as M87. As per scientists locking down an image of M87’s supermassive black hole at such distance is comparable to photographing a pebble on the Moon. The image was captured by eight linked telescopes, together called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).

European Space Agency astrophysicist Paul McNamara called it an “outstanding technical achievement” and a great team effort. Michael Bremer, an astronomer from Institute for Millimetric Radio Astronomy (IRAM) in Grenoble, said “Instead of constructing a giant telescope that would collapse under its own weight, we combined many observatories,” Over several days in April 2017, eight radio telescopes in Hawaii, Arizona, Spain, Mexico, Chile, and the South Pole zeroed in on M87. These were joined together “like fragments of a giant mirror,” and as per Bremer, they formed a virtual observatory some 12,000 kilometres across equivalent to the diameter of Earth. Hundreds of terabytes of data were flown in by planes to form the image of the black hole. Though the Event Horizon Telescope had gathered the data two years ago, it took 200 scientists working with supercomputers to finally compile the full picture.

American physicist John Archibald Wheeler, gave the term “black hole” and this refers to matter in space that is so compressed as to create a gravity field from which even light cannot escape. This is precisely the reason why this is such an achievement to take a photograph of something so powerful that even light cannot escape from it – not even the light required to get a photograph.

The unprecedented image has been analysed in six studies co-authored by 200 experts belonging to about 60 institutions and published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

All this can be credited to Katie Bouman, who along with three team members played an important part in creating the algorithms that made the black hole image possible. Their algorithm helped in completing the task of piecing together the image.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: