Categories: Air & Space

Astronomers catch what can’t be seen: First Image of Black Hole

It’s an achievement that is exciting the world – humanity’s first look at a black hole.

“We have seen what we have thought was unseeable,” said Shep Doeleman, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “We have seen and taken a picture of a black hole.”

The declaration was made at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C., which spearheaded the 10-year search for visual proof of a black hole.

The picture got the creative ability of astronomer Gerald McKeegan at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland.

“There is so much energy being produced that you get this glow around it and that actual material being pulled into the black hole with a tremendous amount of energy,” said McKeegan, who clarified that the material moving around the external edge of the black hole is moving at light speeds and creating the colorful glow.

Black holes are stars that died, exploded and collapsed into a super dense object the size of a grain of sand.

“If you can image 6.5 billion suns squeezed down to smaller than a grain of sand. And it has so much gravity, that anything that gets close to it will not be able to escape,” explained McKeegan.

Not by any means light is able to escape. Simply getting an image of it was a remarkable accomplishment. This black hole is situated in the M87 galaxy, in the Virgo constellation about 55 million light-years away.

To get a picture of the black hole an remarkable measure of occasions needed to place. First photons of radio waves only millimeters in wavelength needed to leave the occasion skyline of the black hole.

“The radio waves would have to propagate 60,000 years through the M87 galaxy and another 55 million years in intergalactic space before reaching earth,” said Doeleman, who at that point clarified that the radio waves needed to move beyond the water vapor in the world’s atmosphere to be seen by our telescopes.

The picture was not taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. This was an overall coordinated effort of eight telescopes far and globe. Researchers facilitated them to make a virtual telescope the size of the globe. Scientists captured five petabytes of data (5 million gigabytes) and converted them into an image.

Rosa Sanchez

Rosa Sanchez enjoys writing about a range of topics including politics, science, space, technology, entrainment, fashion and arts and culture. She loves to travel and explore new places with her camera and notebooks.

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