The very first image of a supermassive black hole has been taken by Earth's Event Horizon Telescope, bask in its extremely dense but gorgeous gravitational pull.
Firstly, the image has been captured with the Event Horizon Telescope which instead of using a singular telescope to take the image, uses a global network array of radio telescopes. The energy of these radio telescopes are honed in to create one big telescope that gave us enough power to be able to capture the above image.
The supermassive black hole is located somewhat 55 million light years away and is at the very centre of the elliptical galaxy M87. Astrophysicist Luciano Rezzolla of Goethe Universitat in Germany spoke out about the recent achievement, saying "The confrontation of theory with observations is always a dramatic moment for a theorist. It was a relief and a source of pride to realise that the observations matched our predictions so well."
While the image may not be that over-the-top interesting at first glance, we should appreciate exactly what we are looking at. Judging from the image we can see in the centre a black dot, this is the entrance of the black hole and the area that has the strongest gravitational pull, not even letting light escape it. The outside rim, or better known as the 'event horizon' is a mixture of radiation, dust particles and gases, all of which are stuck in the immense gravitational pull of the black hole and are rotating in a clockwise fashion.
According to theoretical astrophysicist Philip Hopkins of Caltech "That's been understood as an effect of general relativity for a very long time, but it only gets measurably large if you're really close to the event horizon of a black hole. And if we can measure it, not only is it a super-interesting test of this weird regime of relativity, it also tells you really cool information. If the black hole is spinning, that's telling you how much angular momentum it has, which tells you about all the things it had to swallow to make itself in the first place."
Hopkins continued and said: "Honestly in some ways the most impressive thing in all seriousness is just the technical achievement involved, and not just what you learn from this. Being able to image anything astrophysically at this kind of resolution is kind of mind-blowing."
Black Holes & Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy
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