The first picture of a Black Hole and what make it important.steemCreated with Sketch.

in blackhole •  last month 

Today,
In April the 10th at 3PM UTC+2
The first picture ever of a black hole has been revealed.


And here is it :

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Yes, I know it's really blurry and it may not be what you think a black hole would look like but here is it.
The first picture of a Black Hole taken by the Event Horizon Telescope's Team (EHT) That's what a black hole looks like but I'm going to explain it a bit more further in this article.

First, let's talk about the EHT


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The EHT is not only one telescope but a network of different radiotelescopes all around the world that collect data and gather it to creates high quality pictures of what it can see in the sky. This network create a virtual telescope of the size of the Earth. The mission of this "telescope" was to take a picture of a black hole by collecting Data about it from its different radiotelescopes. The first Black Hole that was meant to be pictured was the hypothetical black hole at the center of our galaxy: Sagittarius A* But the Black Hole that you have seen upon is the Black Hole M87* a supermassive Black Hole at the center of the M87 galaxy. Thanks to the Data collected the team of the EHT has been able to say that the Black Hole weight 6.5 billion times the mass of our Sun.

Now let's talk about the image we see

There is one thing that you have to know. This black hole is 55 million light-years away from us. That's mean that if we were travelling as fast as the light (299,792,458 m.s^-1 which is impossible because of our mass) we will have to wait 55 millions year before reaching the Black Hole. So that's Black Hole is pretty far away from us. To be more significant by using the metric system, this Black Hole is 520,340,176,000,000,000,000 kilometers away from us. That one of the reason that make this picture blurry. Another reason is that the Telescopes used are situated on earth and so they have to cross the atmosphere which can alter the data received. But you may wonder what is on the picture, I mean we don't really see a Black Hole but more of something looking like a fire ring.
The thing is that the hole at the middle of the fire ring is the Black Hole but we can't see it directly and in fact the thing that we are observing is the Event Horizon of the Black Hole. Which can be represented as the Surface of the Black Hole, if something go further the Event Horizon it can't escape being attracted by the black Hole, Even light can't, that's why the Black Hole is black, it don't emit light, it only absorb it.
The ring that you can see around the Black Hole is more something like a disc, it's a disk of dust and rock spinning around the black Hole because of it's gravitationnal attraction as the Moon is in rotation around the Earth. But here, the Black Hole is as massive that the objects rotating around it are rotating at a speed near of the speed of light, making them burning really hot and so emitting light.
If you want to picture it better I'll show you an artistical view of a supermassive Black Hole from the movie Interstellar :

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What's the aim of this picture ?

The aim of this picture is more than a scientic / nerdy thing. It's a step further towards the knowledge of our Universe. The first thing that this picture is doing is confirming the theory of Albert Einstein who were the first person to explain mathematically a Black Hole, thanks to theory of general relativity. Now astronomers and scientist will be able to test this theory under the most extreme conditions in the universe.
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