What most people deem to be black are normally just a ‘very, very, very, very, very dark blue’. Black holes are almost definitely jet black.
Given the name, I could’ve postualated that earlier – but now, after five long nights, astronomers working on the ‘Event Horizon Telescope’ project think they may have snapped the first ever actual picture of a black hole.
At the minute the data gathered by the telescope is being sent to supercomputers in the U.S. and Germany but the astronomers seem to think they’ve finally got a legit photograph of a black hole.
One of the team members on this mission was Radboud University’s Heino Falcke, who said:
Even if the first images are still crappy and washed out, [they] can already test for the first time some basic predictions of Einstein’s theory of gravity in the extreme environment of a black hole.
The picture will turn black holes from some mythical object to something concrete that we can study.
Although the techniques used by the Event Horizon Telescope are relatively old, the size and scale of this mission in particular are simply monumental. Hell, the telescope can count the stitches on a baseball from 8,000 miles away.
In this mission, astronomers researched two black holes. The first, Sagittarius A*, is the black hole that sits at the center of the Milky Way. The other, Messier 87, is a black hole in an elliptical galaxy 53 million light years away.
Hopefully early next year we’ll be able to see the photos for ourselves…
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