This article has been just updated: December 30th, 2019
Are black holes real: Scientists captured the real image of a black hole with the help of global network telescopes spread across the globe.
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Are Black Holes Real
The Event Horizon Telescope collaboration showed the image of a more or less doughnut-shaped object with a somewhat fuzzy dark circle in the middle. Against the black sky to the world recently.
- Why would this be heart-stopping?
- Whether to an astrophysicist or a science buff?
The short answer is that it is the Are black holes real.
Black holes are chunks of space from which nothing we know not even light can escape. Over the last century, the black holes emerged from being just theoretical to things that astrophysicists could hope to hunt.
To begin with, there was the idea that the heaviest stars. when spent of their fuel, could collapse into very dense compact objects, either neutron stars or, if even heavier, then black holes. Jocelyn Bell discovered rotating magnetized neutron stars or pulsars in 1967 and this is the most important milestone. That showed such heavy compact objects to be real.
Astrophysicists also began to discover sources of both visible and radio light in the sky that were clearly not stars located in the far reaches of our universe. That we could still see them meant that they spewed enormous power.
While the masses required to explain the enormous power was at least a million times our sun’s mass. This was still only circumstantial evidence for giant black holes.
Leapfrog to the Event Horizon Telescope. If the stars wander in the area adjacent to a black hole, then they will start walking around in elliptical paths at a fast pace. similar to the earth and other exoplanets being driven into elliptical paths around our sun. By studying their paths, the mass of the driver black hole could be inferred.
If some gas or stars wander into its vicinity. That wreckage will be captured fiercely by the strong gravity of the black hole and the spiraling process. This wreck will heave to heavy temperatures and it will shine like this. It is the source of power that was seen from the massive black hole away from the 1960s.
Einstein’s theory predicts that strong gravity would bend the light from the spiraling shining matter. So that we would be able to see the shine from the spiraling stuff behind the black hole as well and thus the dark black hole would be silhouetted against this light, a la the fictional black hole Gargantua in the movie Interstellar.
We need eyes, then, that are sharp enough to image this silhouette. The sharpness needed depends both on how big it is and how far it is. Getting worse with reducing size and increasing distance.
The images from the Event Horizon Telescope are the sharpest ever, equivalent to being able to discern a mango on the moon or reading the newspaper located in Delhi while sitting in Bengaluru.
First, the black hole shadow hunters harnessed multiple telescopes spread across continents not just to stare at the same spot in the sky, but to enmesh the gathered signals to discover how they “change together” which can give an image as sharp as if one had a telescope nearly as big as the planet. That discovery is tough because the signals are awfully feeble and more. So because there isn’t an actual telescope as big as the planet. Powerful computers and machine learning techniques are key tools that make the imaging possible.
Second, the wavelength of the light signals is very low. Just a millimeter long which makes the pictures sharper than any of the radio pictures so far, and what is special about their target Messier 87? It’s an enormous galaxy over 50 million light-years away.
With a giant black hole in its center that is incredibly luminous across the whole electromagnetic spectrum and also spews out twin jets of plasma. That reach well beyond its swarming stars to scales of several hundred thousand light-years.
Indirect methods had estimated that this black hole weighed over a billion solar masses. This enormous size in relative proximity made it occur in the sweet spot. Just within the capability of the Event Horizon Telescope.
So a hundred years after the total solar eclipse of 1919. When the bending of starlight from near the eclipsed Sun substantiated Einstein’s theory of relativity. Einstein once again proved right.
Is it disappointing that the giant black hole in the center of our Milky Way. Also, a target for the Event Horizon Telescope was not shown to us in silhouette? Indeed yes, but the matter around it is not spiraling in and shining in the same powerful way. So it is a tougher task to capture it. But the day cannot be far!