Astronomers have captured the first image of a black hole, at the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy, 55 million light years from Earth.
Scientists combined the power of eight radio telescopes around the world using Very-Long-Baseline-Interferometry to capture a black hole, which is 55 million light years away from earth.
The picture shows a swirl of gas, dust, stars and even light circling the black hole drain.
So what are black holes?
Einstein’s equations on theory of general relativity predicted that beyond a certain threshold, when too much matter or energy is concentrated in one place, the space and time collapses. When the space and time collapses, it will leave a sink hole that attracts everything including light- nothing could escape black hole.
A black hole is a great amount of matter packed into a very small area – think of a star ten times more massive than the Sun squeezed into a sphere approximately the diameter of New York City. The result is a gravitational field so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape.
Most black holes form from the remnants of a large star that dies in a supernova explosion. it can be proven theoretically that no force can keep the star from collapsing under the influence of gravity. However, as the star collapses, a strange thing occurs. As the surface of the star nears an imaginary surface called the “event horizon,” time on the star slows relative to the time kept by observers far away. When the surface reaches the event horizon, time stands still, and the star can collapse no more – it is a frozen collapsing object.
Initially it was considered as mathematical oddities, but now there are overwhelming evidence confirms that black holes are out there.
Scientists say, virtually all large galaxies are thought to be organized around a central black hole. The known universe contains anywhere from 200 billion to 2 trillion galaxies.
How did the scientist capture the image of a black hole?
The image was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which is a network of eight radio telescopes spanning locations from Antarctica to Spain and Chile.
The EHT picks up radiation emitted by particles within the disc that are heated to billions of degrees as they swirl around the black hole at close to the speed of light, before vanishing down the plughole.