Astronomers capture first-ever image of a black hole

12 April, 2019, 02:01 | Author: Courtney Perry
  • See the first real pictures of a black hole revealed live

The image of the black hole presented on Wednesday was not from any one method, but all the images from different algorithms that were blurred together.

Since the researchers had to deal with insufficient data from the supermassive black hole, Bouman developed an algorithm called CHIRP (Continuous High-resolution Reconstruction using Patch priors) which was able to put that sparse data to good use by filling in the gaps and producing the final image after extensive verification and tests. This one's "event horizon" - the point of no return around it, where light and matter begin to fall inexorably into the abyss - is as big as our entire solar system.

The world is still basking in the incredible achievement of being able to capture for the first time ever an image of a 'monstrous' black hole. The mystique of black holes in the community is very substantial. But if a person were to somehow get close to this black hole, it might not look quite like that, astronomers said.

To perform this, the space experts struggled with bad weather and glitchy electric frameworks. At last, they tried their discoveries against the consequences of a million recreations of what a black hole may resemble, until finally they recognized a match.

Scientists on Wednesday revealed the first-ever photo taken of a black hole - but one woman played an essential role in capturing the image. Messier 87 is a huge galaxy in the constellation Virgo.

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.

Those images were so good that scientists at first anxious that it was just too good to be true, Boston University's Marscher said.


The cool image was possible with two years of computer analysis of observations from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a global network of radio antennas. But creating an image of the black hole required a telescope quite a bit larger.

Harvard University scientist Sheperd Doeleman leads the EHT project.

The "monster" black hole measures 40 billion kilometers (~25 billion miles) across - that's almost 29,000 Suns - and is located 500 million trillion kilometers (~311 million trillion miles) away at the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy, a massive galaxy in the "nearby" Virgo galaxy cluster. In layman's terms, this could change everything about how we think about the universe.

Astrophysicist Dimitrios Psaltis of the University of Arizona, the EHT project scientist, said, "The size and shape of the shadow matches the precise predictions of Einstein's general theory of relativity, increasing our confidence in this century-old theory".

But the danger is we don't want to inject additional information into the problem, so as to bias our result toward something that we would expect to see.

"We've been hunting this for a long time", said Jessica Dempsey, a co-discoverer and deputy director of the East Asian Observatory in Hawaii. "And how can we come up with unique ways to merge the instrumentation and algorithms to get at measuring things that you can't measure with standard instruments".

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