April 23, 2019 | 9:54 PM IST
science

First ever pics of black hole released

Scientists across the globe witnessed an enigmatic cosmic occurrence that they have tried to fathom for decades when images of exotic astronomical objects black hole event horizon were clicked for the first time. This proved the century old Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, an important tool in understanding the universe, informs a release.

About 200 scientists, astronomers, observationalists, theorists from over 40 countries came together for the project, called the Event Horizon Project (EHT), as eight telescopes from different locations combined to create a virtual telescope as large as the earth, using a technique called interferometry.

The images released on Wednesday showed a bright ring at the centre of galaxy M87, which has been formed by the superheated gases falling into the black hole. The fact that black holes do not allow light to escape makes viewing them difficult. The scientists looked for a ring of light - super-heated disrupted matter and radiation circling at tremendous speed at the edge of the event horizon - around a region of darkness representing the actual black hole. This is known as the black hole’s shadow or silhouette.

The M87 black hole observed by the scientific team resides about 54 million light-years from Earth and boasts an almost-unimaginable mass of 6.5 billion times that of the sun. A light year is the distance light travels in a year, 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km), adds the report.

The existence of black holes was first predicted in 1916. Most galaxies are thought to have a supermassive black hole at their center.

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