BU Research – The First Black Hole Image Is Here

The first direct visual evidence of the supermassive black hole in the center of Messier 87 (M87) and its shadow. The shadow of the black hole seen here is the closest we can come to an image of the black hole itself, a completely dark object from which light cannot escape. Photo courtesy of EHT

In a recent article from BU Today, IAR’s Professor Alan Marscher and Senior Research Scientist Svetlana Jorstad discuss the first image of a black hole captured through a collaboration of more than 200 other scientists from around the globe known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration.

“Because black holes have so much mass that their gravitational forces absorb all light particles, they have, until now, been completely undetectable against the vast, dark backdrop of space. So, how do you see something totally invisible? Marscher, Jorstad, and more than 200 other scientists from all over the world, known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration, had to analyze literal boatloads of data collected from multiple telescopic locations. Their findings and the first black hole image from EHT were published in a series of six papers in the Astrophysical Journal Letters on April 10, 2019.

Collecting data from eight radio telescopes in different remote locations around the world, the EHT collaborators essentially created a planet-size telescope. This technique allowed them to achieve a telescopic resolution powerful enough to read a newspaper in New York from a sidewalk café in Paris. The telescopic network’s power is capable of cutting through the cosmic haze to magnify the EHT team’s namesake, a boundary known as the event horizon, the final point beyond which no light or anything else can escape from a black hole’s maws.

For the last several years, EHT has been working to image two supermassive black holes: Sagittarius A*, located in the center of the Milky Way, and one in the center of Messier 87 (M87), a galaxy in the constellation Virgo. That far-away region in M87, located 55 million light years from Earth, is where scientists from EHT succeeded in taking the only direct image of a supermassive black hole and its surroundings ever before captured.”

Read the rest of the Article here: https://www.bu.edu/research/articles/first-black-hole-image/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=link&utm_content=research_space&utm_campaign=social_main

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