World’s First Picture of ‘Black Hole’ :
Ever since the dawn of mankind, humans never stopped seeking knowledge out of curiosity. Knowing the Unknown, seeking the answers to things far beyond they could see, Charting the Uncharted.
Well, Black Holes are one among those humongous mysteries of the Universe that mankind’s seeking answers for years.
And today we are a step closer than yesterday in answering the unanswered questions with the world’s first visual proof ever of the existence of ‘Black Hole’.
With the Planet Wide Virtual Array called ‘The Event Horizon Telescope‘, scientists have captured the impossible. World’s First Picture of ‘Black Hole’.
In the picture is ‘The Real Supermassive Black Hole’ at the core of the Galaxy Messier 87‘. It has a mass of 6.5 billion Suns combined.
Visible are the crescent-shaped emission ring and central shadow that are gravitationally magnified views of the Black Hole’s Photon ring. This image was 1st released on Wednesday 10th April 2019 by the scientists of ‘The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration’.
‘We now have a visual evidence for a Black Hole’, said Sheperd S. Doeleman, EHT Project Director at a press conference in Washington DC.
The findings of the world’s first picture of Black Hole were announced in a series of 6 press conferences across 4 continents simultaneously. This extraordinary scientific milestone was accomplished by a team of more than 200 researchers.
All thanks to our great Scientists and Technology.
This picture of ‘Black Hole’ now has the potential of studying it more than ever before.
Besides just being exited of the success, seeing the exact shape of a Black Hole for the 1st time is a ‘Big deal’ for Science.
That’s because it could either confirm (or) challenge the famous ‘Theories of Gravity’ that was born of ‘Albert Einstein‘ over a century ago which are the fundamentals of Universe and the Laws of Physics that govern our daily lives as we understand.
Most of the scientists believe that ‘Black Hole’ holds the key answers to the questions of How the Universe and Time itself began…
‘Black Hole’ is definitely a hoard of answers about everything according to Legendary Scientist ‘Stephen Hawking‘.
But first, what is a ‘Black Hole’…?
It’s humongously powerful force is so strong because a massive amount of matter is squeezed in very little space… Like 20 Suns squeezed into a ball the size of just 10 miles across [It’s like the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe is shown in just 3 minutes video] [It’s that super compacted]. Which makes its ‘Force of Gravity’ so strong that even the light itself can’t escape from it.
The Black Hole is surrounded by a ring of superheated swirling gas and dust. And at its Perimeter, the edge of the black-part of the Black Hole is the ‘Event Horizon’, that’s the name given to the Boundary where the light can’t escape.
Basically, Black Holes are of 3 types…
> Primordial Black Holes – They are the smallest ones.
> Stella Black Holes – These are most common in the universe. The mass is about 20 or more Suns squeezed in a ball the size of just 10 miles across.
> Supermassive Black Holes – These are the monsters of all with its mass ranges from more than 1 million Suns cramped in space the size of just our Solar System.
Well, the picture is of this monster [Supermassive Black Hole]. Luckily, its 55 million light-years away from Earth [So, no need to worry about being eaten by it].
10 Interesting Facts about ‘Black Hole’
1. This Supermassive Black Hole is found at the center of Galaxy ‘Messier 87’ in a nearby ‘Virgo’ Galaxy Cluster.
2. This ‘Black Hole’ is 55 million light-years away from Earth.
3. It has a mass of 6.5 billion Suns combined [that’s beyond imagination].
4. ‘Event Horizon Telescope’ [EHT] that captured the world’s first picture of Black Hole is a group of Telescopes dotted across different Continents of the world.
5. Each Telescope of EHT produced roughly 350TB of data per day – which was stored on high-performance helium-filled Hard Drives.
6. The amount of data that was collected by Event Horizon Telescope was so huge that it had to be shipped to MIT – Haystack Observatory on half a Ton of Hard Drives.
7. The amount of data that went into creating the picture is actually equal to the number of selfies that 40,000 people might take in their lifetime.
8. The creation of the Algorithm that made the world’s first picture of Black Hole ever possible was led by MIT grad student ‘Katie Bouman‘.
9. The algorithm was named as ‘CHIRP’ [Continuous High-Resolution Image Reconstruction using Patch Priors] by Bouman.
10. This first-ever picture of a Black Hole confirms Einstein’s famous ‘Theory of Relativity‘.
How did the scientists capture the world’s first picture of Black Hole…?
A team of 200 researchers and scientists from all over the world joined hands with NASA to accomplish this milestone.
Chandra X-ray Observatory and The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer [on board the International Space Station] were used by NASA to measure the X-rays emitted from the Black Hole to map their behavior and track the gases swirling around it.
And on Ground, a Planet-Scale wide virtual array called ‘Event Horizon Telescope’ under the directorship of Sheperd S. Doeleman center of Astrophysics, Harward, and Smithsonian started collecting data on 2017 with 8 different telescopes from different parts of the world forged through International Collaboration.
> Rather than just a single observatory, the E.H.T is a combination of 8 radio Telescopes located in Hawai, Arizona, Chile, Mexico, Spain and at the South Pole.
> The Telescopes that contributed to the research were ALMA, APEX, The IRAM 30 Meter Telescope, The James Clark Maxwell Telescope, The Large Millimeter Telescope – Alfonso Serrano, The Sub-millimeter Array, The Sub-millimeter Telescope. The observation was a co-ordinated movement in which the telescopes were simultaneously pointed in a carefully planned sequence.
> ‘Black Holes’ are relatively small astronomical objects when compared to the size and vastness of our Universe which in turn has made them impossible to directly observe until now. As a Black Hole’s size is proportional to its mass. The bigger the Black Hole, the larger the Shadow.
> Thanks to its enormous mass and relative proximity, M87’s Black Hole was predicted to be one of the largest viewable Celestial Objects from Earth making it a perfect target for Event Horizon Telescope [EHT].
> The EHT observation used a technique called ‘Very-Long-baseline-Interferometry‘ [VLBI] which synchronizes different Telescope facilities around the world and uses the rotation of our Planet to brilliantly make Earth itself as one huge Telescope.
> Observing at a wavelength of 1.3mm, VLBI allows the EHT to achieve an angular resolution of 20 micro-arc-seconds, enough to read a book that’s 3,635 miles away from you when you are enjoying coffee at your home [Its that fine].
> Each Telescope of EHT produced an enormous amount of Data roughly 350TB per day – which was stored on High-performance Helium filled Hard Drives.
> And Petabytes of Raw data produced by Telescopes were combined by highly specialized Super Computers hosted by “Institute for Max Planck Radio Astronomy and MIT-Haystack Observatory”.
> The process was just painstaking to convert all the data into the world’s first picture of Black Hole using novel computational tools developed by the collaboration.
And all these efforts and dedication of the team have paid very well with the perfect visual proof of the ‘Black Hole.’
And capturing the world’s first picture of Black Hole wouldn’t have been possible without the groundbreaking work on Black Hole by the Legendary Scientist ‘Stephen Hawking’.
This article is dedicated to the Legend ‘Stephen Hawking’ by ‘The Hoard Planet.‘