Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Astronomers Capture First Image of Black Hole and Event Horizon

Article Written By: Kyle Tam


   An international group of astrophysicists have released their observations of the giant black hole at the heart of the distant galaxy Messier 87. As a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is an international collaboration of scientists working to capture images of a black hole.
   Announced in a series of six papers published in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the image revealed the black hole at the centre of Messier 87. This black hole is located 55 million light-years away and has a mass of about 6.5 billion Suns.

Chandra X-ray Observatory close-up of the core of the M87 galaxy.
Credits: NASA/CXC/Villanova University/J. Neilsen

   The project provided a way to test for Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity during the centennial year of the historic experiment that first confirmed the theory. Tested using the motions of stars, Einstein's theory predicted the formation of dark shadow-like region caused by the gravitational bending of light.

   The EHT uses a technique called very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) to capture this image. This synchronized telescope facilities around the world and took advantage of the rotation of the Earth to form one huge, Earth-sized telescope observing at a wavelength of 1.3 mm.

Read the full press release here: 
Image Credit: Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration

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