The scientific community made a giant leap when astronomers released the first-ever image of a black hole recently. The mammoth black hole measures 40 billion km across, is three times the size of the earth, weighs 6.5 billion times the earth, and is larger than the entire solar system.
500 million trillion km away from the earth, the supermassive black hole was found in the Messier 87 galaxy. Over two hundred astronomers around the world took the measurements of the black hole using a network of eight ground-based radio telescopes that are together called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). The telescopes were in locations ranging from Chile to Antartica and they collected 5,000 trillion bytes of data. This was subsequently processed through supercomputers after which scientists could retrieve the images.
The image a very bright ring of fire surrounding a circular dark hole. It also shows the event horizon, which is the boundary between light and dark around a black hole. This is the point where gravity becomes so extreme that nothing can escape from it.
Work on this project had commenced over ten years back. Dr Katie Bouman, a computer scientist from MIT, developed the algorithm that helped create the image.
This revolutionary picture is the first visual proof that these enigmatic black holes do exist.
What is a Black Hole?
A black hole is a region in space where the gravitational pull is so high that no matter or radiation can escape. The gravity is high because much matter has been constrained into a tiny space.
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