Astronomers at last have captured an image of the darkest entities in the cosmos.
Astronomers are just minutes away from revealing the first images of a black hole (or, more accurately, the area immediately around it, since the hole itself pulls in all light and matter).
They will be shown in a press conference beginning at 9am ET (2pm BST) today, April 10. When the conference begins, you will be able to watch the live stream below.
Until now, our knowledge of black holes has been based on inferences rather than direct observation. The black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A, is 26,000 light years from Earth, while Messier 87 is nearly 54 million light years away – and both are shrouded by clouds of dust and gas.
Despite its name, the Event Horizon Telescope is actually a collection of eight radio telescopes located around the world, precisely co-ordinated using highly accurate atomic clocks. Together, they effectively creating a global observatory.with the power to let us observe Sagittarius A for the first time.
Termed as “Gates of Hell”, the spokesperson said that you cannot photograph a black hole but you can see its shadow, that’s when light disappears behind the Event Horizon.
The Event Horizon Telescope had been designed for this specific purpose of capturing the image of a black hole.
Black hole has long been a subject of human curiosity. While astronomers have been talking about “dark stars” since 1700s, the community eventually speculated that these bright spots were in fact “black holes”, with American physicist John Archibald Wheeler coming out with the term in the mid-1960s.
“More than 50 years ago, scientists saw that there was something very bright at the centre of our galaxy,” AFP quoted Paul McNamara, an astrophysicist at the European Space Agency and an expert on black holes, as saying. He added: “It has a gravitational pull strong enough to make stars orbit around it very quickly — as fast as 20 years.”