Published the first ever actual photograph of the shadow of the black hole

In several press centres in the world presentations of the results of the project Event Horizon Telescope – a virtual telescope the size of the Earth. Them, scientists for the first time in history showed the first real pictures of the so-called shadow of the black hole in the center of the supergiant galaxy Messier 87 (M87). One of these presentations took place at the National press center in Washington, where the images of the object showed the head of project Event Horizon Telescope Shep Doulman.

“We were able to see what no one’s ever been,” commented Doulman, who spoke at the historic event in the U.S. capital.

“I never believed that a black hole in the galaxy M87 has such a large size, as was shown by our calculations. When I saw this picture, I see it. The ring of fire that you can see on this picture generated a huge force of gravity that object,” — said at a press conference in the walls of the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels Heino falcke from Radboud University Nijmegen (the Netherlands), one of the participants of the project Event Horizon Telescope.

Most modern astronomers believes that at the center of all galaxies are supermassive black holes – objects with a mass of millions and billions of solar, continuously attracting and absorbing any matter, part of which is “chewed” by the black hole and ejected in the form of relativistic jets (jets) – thin beams of plasma accelerated to near-light speeds.

In our galaxy, as well as in several other this Central black hole is inactive — it does not emit jets. Scientists for a long time trying to figure out when she “fell asleep” and how active in the past. In addition, astrophysicists would like to know how this activity influenced the life of stars in the center of our galaxy and its surroundings.

The mystery is trying to solve with the help of a giant virtual interferometer Event Horizon Telescope – networks are interconnected and very sensitive radioobservatory located in different locations of our planet, including the South pole. His training began over 10 years ago.

The locations of radio astronomy observatories that participated in the project Event Horizon Telescope

Combining capacities of telescopes has allowed scientists to reach a resolution that is greater than the sensitivity of a space telescope “Hubble” a thousand times and receive the first data at the immediate vicinity of the Central black hole of galaxy M87, located in the constellation Virgo. The object has a mass of 6.5 billion solar, located about 53.5 million light years from us. In the course of work, scientists have also begun the study of the structure, the areas of black holes, where the jets and associated radio emissions. Acquired images and data were published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The General theory of relativity of Einstein (General relativity) predicts that the shadow of a black hole should appear as a dark circle surrounded by a Crescent of bright light. Not all scientists agree with this prediction, but observations of Event Horizons Telescope was able to point out the wrong of the skeptics and the predictions of Einstein was fully confirmed, as you can see by looking at the.

From left to right: real image of a black hole of the galaxy M87 from the telescope Event Horizons 6 April 2017; a computer model of a black hole; computer model tailored to the Event Horizon telescope resolution

Project participants reported that sources of electromagnetic waves surrounding the black hole, have an asymmetric structure. Previously, many theorists believed that the entire accretion disk (doughnut from “chewed-up” matter) involved in the birth of the jets and beams of radio emission.

At the moment, the resolution of the telescope Event Horizon can not find the exact shape of the active region of a black hole and how fast it spins. According to current assumptions, it can be akin to either a ring of irregular shape, rotating clockwise, or to the kind of skewed “dumbbell” in the center of which is a black hole.

One of the alleged models of the vicinity of a black hole, created by experts at the University of Arizona

The researchers hope that the analysis of data obtained from Event Horizons in the past year to understand which of these two assumptions is closer to the truth, and will tell about how does the form of this “doughnut” or “dumbbell” over time. Ultimately, the researchers plan to solve the main mystery of black holes – how are the jets and why they are thrown out into space at relativistic speeds.

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