Nepal | July 06, 2020

Remarkable photo of black hole released in astrophysics breakthrough

REUTERS
Share Now:

The first ever photo a black hole, taken using a global network of telescopes, conducted by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, to gain insight into celestial objects with gravitational fields so strong no mater or light can escape, is shown in this handout photo released April 10, 2019. Photo: Reuters

WASHINGTON: An international scientific team on Wednesday announced a milestone in astrophysics – the first-ever photo of a black hole – using a global network of telescopes to gain insight into celestial objects with gravitational fields so strong no matter or light can escape.

The team’s observations of the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster, lend strong support to the theory of general relativity put forward in 1915 by physicist Albert Einstein to explain the laws of gravity and their relation to other natural forces.

The research was conducted by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, an international collaboration begun in 2012 to try to directly observe the immediate environment of a black hole using a global network of Earth-based telescopes. The announcement was made in simultaneous news conferences in Washington, Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo.

“We have achieved something presumed to be impossible just a generation ago,” said astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman, director of the Event Horizon Telescope at the Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian.

This black hole resides about 54 million light-years from Earth. A light year is the distance light travels in a year, 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km).

Black holes, phenomenally dense celestial entities, are extraordinarily difficult to observe despite their great mass. A black hole’s event horizon is the point of no return beyond which anything – stars, planets, gas, dust and all forms of electromagnetic radiation – gets swallowed into oblivion.

“This is a huge day in astrophysics,” said US National Science Foundation Director France Córdova. “We’re seeing the unseeable.”

The fact that black holes do not allow light to escape makes viewing them difficult. The scientists look for a ring of light – disrupted matter and radiation circling at tremendous speed at the edge of the event horizon – around a region of darkness representing the actual black hole. This is known as the black hole’s shadow or silhouette.

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.”

“Imaging a black hole is just the beginning of our effort to develop new tools that will enable us to interpret the massively complex data that nature gives us,” Psaltis added.

The project’s researchers obtained the first data in April 2017 using telescopes in the US states of Arizona and Hawaii as well as in Mexico, Chile, Spain and Antarctica.

Since then, telescopes in France and Greenland have been added to the global network. The global network of telescopes has essentially created a planet-sized observational dish.

 


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepal's Covid-19 death-toll at 34, five fatalities recorded in the last six days

KATHMANDU: Nepal has recorded 34 coronavirus related fatalities so far with five deaths logged in the last six days. Nepal had recorded the first-ever death attributed to the contagion on May 14. A 29-year-old new mother from Bahrabise Municipality of Sindhupalchowk died with coronavirus. Mini Read More...

China, coronavirus

Over 3000 Covid-19 cases reported in Nepal in the last 7 days

KATHMANDU: The reported number of coronavirus infection cases around the country continues to surge steadily every week as debates continue on whether or not the pandemic has entered a community transmission stage. In the last seven days alone, 3182 additional cases had surfaced, as per the Health M Read More...

Baglung man who died inside quarantine facility diagnosed with Covid-19

POKHARA: A 29-year-old who died on Saturday night in Dhorpatan Municipality-4 of Baglung has been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. A PCR test conducted at State Tuberculosis Centre in Pokhara confirmed his infection hours after his death, informed  Suraj Gurau, Chief of the Health Office, Read More...

Mikel Arteta

Arsenal learning to suffer to win, says Arteta

LONDON: Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal's willingness to "suffer" will bring the good times back to the north London club. His side's 2-0 win at in-form Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday was arguably the best result since Arteta replaced Unai Emery in December and put them seventh in the Pre Read More...

Japan floods leave up to 34 dead, many at nursing homes

TOKYO: Deep floodwaters and the risk of more mudslides that left at least 34 people confirmed or presumed dead hampered search and rescue operations Sunday in southern Japan, including at elderly home facilities where more than a dozen died and scores were still stranded. Helicopters and boats re Read More...

Nepal's Covid-19 tally nears 16k as 293 cases surface on Sunday

KATHMANDU: With the confirmation of 293 new cases, Nepal's coronavirus infection tally has reached 15,784 on Sunday. Likewise, 132 recoveries were reported by the Ministry of Health and Population, which has taken the total number of recoveries in the country to 6547. Read Also: Over 3000 Covi Read More...

Indians keep their distance in mass tree planting campaign

LUCKNOW: More than 2 million people gathered Sunday at river banks, farmlands and government buildings in northern India while trying to practice social distancing to plant 250 million trees as part of a government plan to tackle climate change. Officials in Uttar Pradesh distributed millions of Read More...

Kathmandu Valley

30 new Covid-19 cases surface in Kathmandu valley on Sunday, tally nears 200

KATHMANDU: With the detection of 30 additional cases, Kathmandu valley's coronavirus infection tally has neared 200 on Sunday. The Ministry of health and population confirmed that 27 cases had surfaced in the capital city in the last 24 hours while, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur reported two and one cas Read More...