This article, First Picture of a Black Hole, is about the first picture ever taken of a black hole. Scientists have always relied on Albert Einstein’s theory and also indirect evidence that black holes existed. Finally, we have physical proof. On April 10, 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a network of eight different telescopes, took the first photo of a black hole. The observatories are located in Hawaii, Arizona, Chile, Mexico, Spain, and Antarctica. They each individually took pictures on four different days in April 2017, and it took all this time to process the data.
The observed black hole is in the middle of the galaxy M87. It is 6.5 billion times the size of the sun! Compared to other black holes that could be as small as an atom, this is one of the biggest black holes in the universe and therefore, easier to observe from our telescopes. Another incredible fact is that the black hole is 55 million light years away from earth. It is about 16 million times the length of the closest star to Earth (Alpha Centauri A and B).
Scientists didn’t see the actual black hole, but its shadow, where light bends at the event horizon, the point on the black hole where light cannot escape. The picture above shows the black hole’s shadow. As you can see, the black hole has a huge ring of light around the borders, where light and objects are getting drawn into the black hole.
The Event Horizon Telescope is now taking pictures of the second black hole, located closer to earth than the one in M87. It is called the Sagittarius A. The Sagittarius A is 25 million light years away, half the length of the one in M87. It is 4 million times bigger than the sun, but much smaller than M87’s black hole. Perhaps we will learn something new from that particular black hole.
I chose this article because I am fascinated by space and how large and vast our universe is. It is amazing to think about something that is so far away and so massive. Black holes are frightening objects and hard to imagine how they can bring in everything around it, even stars and light! This information is very important for our world and science. Now, we know that black holes exist and this may give us clues about how the universe formed and how it works today. This article relates to what we’ve learned this year because it shows what we can conclude from observations.
By Micah 4L