First Ever Picture of a Black Hole

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First Ever Picture of a Black Hole

Gunnar Strom, Contributor

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Black holes are one of the more popular scientific phenomena that inhabit the far reaches of space. But scientists, while being pretty sure that black holes existed due to their gravitational effect on everything around them, they never had any concrete proof to their existence. However, earlier this week, scientific history was made when a photo of a black hole was taken using several different telescopes around the world.

The telescopes, collectively called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), ranging in location from places like Antarctica to close to home in places like Arizona, used X-Ray imaging to capture the black hole, since they are so deep and dense that any light even remotely close to the black hole is swallowed up by it, leaving just a dark abyss in the middle of space. This is where the black hole gets its orange and yellow glow in the picture.

Those who think that black holes are just a big empty abyss in space that swallows up the occasional planet or solar system would be surprised to find that this is not the case at all. In fact, it is completely the opposite. Black holes are, in a simple definition, a large amount of matter packed really tightly into a relatively small space. This creates a very strong gravitational pull that has the ability to swallow even seemingly unstoppable things such as light. Black holes are usually thought to be the body of a dead star, a large mass just floating in space after it ran out of fuel and imploded in on itself. However, not much else is known about where they come from or how they come into existence.

The significance of this discovery is huge: not only do scientists have full, concrete evidence that black holes do, in fact, exist, but this gets scientists one step closer to being able to study black holes and to figure out how they work. It also means that scientists can work towards finding other black holes, including the one that is in the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. In fact, most galaxies have a large black hole in the center of them, the reason for the orbiting of the planets and the force keeping them all together.

As of now the picture in itself, while being an engineering and scientific marvel, is just a picture, as not much else has been done yet as these types of projects take months and years to complete. But the pathway that this discovery has laid out is one that will be followed for years and years to come.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/04/12/98fda1c0-5ca6-11e9-a00e-050dc7b82693_story.html?utm_term=.6ee73336a6d5

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/10/science/black-hole-picture.html

https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/plunging-into-the-physics-of-the-black-hole-image/

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