An worldwide team of scientists shared the first image of a supermassive black hole captured by the Event Horizon Telescope on Wednesday morning. But indirect evidence for their existence has been accumulating for a couple of decades until now, a black hole has finally been imaged.
Einstein said black holes would have gravity so powerful they'd bend the fabric of space and time and be able to keep anything, including light from escaping their grip. "We've been hunting this for a long time", she said of the new black hole image. Over the past two years, researchers from around the world have worked to turn that information into the clearest image possible by syncing up the measurements taken concurrently around the world.
Her schoolmate Gregory Durkin (ph) was glad to see something that matched the predictions of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.
"You have probably seen many, many images of black holes before", said Heino Falcke, a professor in the Netherlands who chairs the EHT Science Council.
The EHT teams will be working on dissecting the entire spectrum of light coming from the M87 black hole all the way from low-energy radio waves to high-energy gamma rays.
A scene from "Interstellar" was thought to be the most realistic movie depiction ever of a black hole.
"They deserve an enormous amount of credit for their diligence and dedication", Marrone said, "because without it, we couldn't have made an image".
"Black holes are the most mysterious objects in the Universe", Doeleman said during the press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
He said: "The history of man and of science will be divided into the time before the image and the time after the image".
"I think this image will be an important part of astronomy going forward for years to come", Doeleman said, adding, "To know that these monsters exist, that is humbling".
Einstein's theory also was validated by another major astrophysics achievement announced in 2016, the detection of gravitational waves, or ripples in spacetime, arising from two black holes that smashed together.
The sizes of black holes can vary. But by the very nature of the name, it's nearly impossible to see them.
The black hole, which is highlighted by radiating hot gas orbiting around it, is about 55 million light years from Earth. The biggest are called supermassive black holes, and these have a mass greater than one million suns. "This makes us confident about the interpretation of our observations, including our estimation of the black hole's mass". First-ever image of a black hole, wider than our whole solar system.
An global consortium of scientists is expected to release the first ever photos of a black hole. The other, Sagittarius A*, is in Earth's galaxy, the Milky Way. It is more than six times bigger than the sun. M87's black hole seems to have a far brighter crescent-like shape on the bottom left.
Although the image from Chandra is not a zoomed-out version of the same photograph that was released on April 10 2019, both are legitimate. They also needed to ensure that the processor would not incorrectly use machine learning and be biased towards creating images that would match the expectations of the scientists.