A few days back I had written in a post that scientists may be gearing up to announce that they had managed to take the first ever image of a black hole. And yesterday, they announced that they had indeed managed to do so.
To recap, black holes are these cosmic objects that suck in everything around them. They are so dense and their gravitational force is so strong that no particles and even electromagnetic radiation can escape it.
So, it is obvious why we have never had a photo of an actual black hole. But thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope project, which is basically a network of telescopes spanning throught the planet, we now have our first image of a black hole.
Scientists had been targeting the supermassive blackhole at the centre of the M87 galaxy, which happens to be one of the largest galaxies in the local universe. The black hole is gigantic, almost the size of our solar system, with a mass of 6.5 billion suns!
This achievement is surely one for the history books. It was made possible by the sheer determination of the team and a highly advanced system they had in place. This is even more impactful as a few decades ago, people didn't even believe in black holes, let alone having the capability of taking an image of one.
Also, now that we have directly observed a black hole, Albert Einstein's century hold theory of relativity has become even more tried and tested, now even in the extreme conditions of a black hole. It was on the basis of his theory that other scientists had predicted what a black hole could look like and it matches closely to the real thing.
We do not yet have the image of the supermassive black hole at the centre of our own galaxy, called Sagittarius A* but I think we will get one in the near future.
For now, the team at EHT has said that the next images of the M87 black hole will be crisper than the one we got as they have upgraded the system (things like the addition of more telescopes to the network). I can't wait to see what they have in store for us in the future. Here's to many more breakthroughs like this!
Image Credits - Event Horizon Telescope