The first image of a black hole, located in the center of the galaxy M87
The invisible has been revealed.
A supermassive black hole, the closest thing to the Eye of Sauron in a galaxy, has been photographed by a community of astronomers living in the peaceful region of the Solar System.
The image, made public by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) consortium, confirms the existence of these bewildering stars predicted by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity and will help clarify how they work.
In addition, he has confirmed for the first time the predictions of the theory of relativity in the conditions of extreme gravity of a supermassive black hole.
“This is a historic moment. It will transform our understanding of black holes, “said astrophysicist France Cordova, director of the National Science Foundation of the USA, at one of the press conferences in which the progress was presented, held in Washington and retransmitted by Internet.
The image corresponds to the central black hole of the galaxy M87, a monster with a mass equivalent to 6,500 million suns. In it you can see the dark disk of the black hole surrounded by a ring of light that is brighter at the bottom than at the top.
The ring is formed by matter that rotates at very high speed around the black hole. The lightest part corresponds to matter that is rotating in the direction of the Earth, while the dark part corresponds to matter that is moving away.
Black holes are stars with gravitational fields so powerful that nothing, not even light, can escape them. They grow by swallowing the stars that approach them and that, once crossed the so-called horizon of events, they can not return to the outer universe.
In the center of the black hole, the curvature of space-time becomes infinite and a singularity occurs, where the laws of physics that we know are no longer valid. This has led to the hypothesis that the big bang that originated our universe could happen inside a black hole.
The EHT consortium (initials in English of the Event Horizon Telescope, referring to the point of no return of black holes from which light can not escape) has observed the two black holes that have a larger apparent size in the sky when observed from Earth.
The center of the Milky Way has a mass 4.3 million times greater than that of the Sun compressed in a diameter of 30 suns. Although it is small to be in the center of a large galaxy, it is the supermassive black hole closest to Earth, at a distance of 26,000 light years.
The center of the galaxy M87, on the other hand, is a real giant. With a mass of 6,500 million suns, it is about 1,500 times more massive than that of the Milky Way. And although it is 2,000 times farther, 55 million light-years away, it is still close enough for the M87 galaxy to be seen with an amateur telescope.
The images presented today correspond to the black hole of M87. The one in the Milky Way “is very interesting and complex. We are working on it. We hope to have results to present very soon, “said Sheperd Doeleman, an astrophysicist at Harvard University (USA) and director of the EHT consortium.
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