CAS: First ever black hole images in the final stage of 'printing'

CAS: First ever black hole images in the final stage of 'printing'

The image shows a lopsided ring of light surrounding a dark circle deep in the center of Messier 87, a galaxy that's approximately 55 million light-years away from Earth, The New York Times reported.

On Wednesday we got our first look at a black hole, thanks to an global project of scientists known as the Event Horizon Telescope. They captured an image of the black hole at the center of a galaxy known as M87.

EHT's work "has verified Einstein's theories of gravity in this most extreme laboratory", EHT director Sheperd Doeleman, of Harvard University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said during today's press conference.

Chair of the EHT Science Council Heino Falcke of Radboud University, the Netherlands, explained that the shadow "reveals a lot about the nature of these fascinating objects and allowed us to measure the enormous mass of M87's black hole".

The picture, assembled from data gathered by eight radio telescopes around the world, shows the hot, shadowy lip of a supermassive black hole, one of the light-sucking monsters of the universe theorized by Einstein more than a century ago and confirmed by observations for decades.

The EHT is not a single physical telescope; instead, it's an array of linked radio dishes across the globe, creating an Earth-sized virtual telescope.

The remnants of the shattered star are collected and compressed into small portions of space, according to a NASA summary of black holes.

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Up until now, every image we have seen of a black hole has been an illustration, but that is about to change.

Meanwhile, as scientists are still unsure as to how black holes are assembled or what would happen if something was to fall into it, they do insist that there shouldn't be any lingering doubts about their existence. Rather like a black hole for dollar bills. If the photons manage to move past the black hole without crossing its "event horizon" - the point past which nothing can escape - they will be able to continue their journey through the galaxy.

The results were presented simultaneously by researchers in Brussels, Santiago de Chile, Taipei, Tokyo and Washington.

He said: "The history of man and of science will be divided into the time before the image and the time after the image".

The real-world significance of the image is for astronomists to parse through, though. This could be a whole new era of understanding black holes.

Scientists are hoping that the image will help them to understand Einstein's theory of general relativity and quantum mechanics.

Scientists can see how the strong gravity affects the stars and gas around the black hole.

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