It's a picture that could change our understanding of physics forever, paving the way for huge scientific breakthroughs.
In what may be one of the most important photographs ever taken, scientists involved with the Event Horizon Telescope have just snapped the first picture of the event horizon of our galaxy’s supermassive black hole, and the effort to take a close look inside a black hole appears to have been a success. The data collected is now being sent to supercomputers in the U.S. and Germany, and we will hopefully learn if we have the first picture of a black hole by early next year.
The Event Horizon Telescope is an incredible project that involves linking telescopes around the globe to create one giant telescope, connected virtually so that it basically has the diameter of an entire planet. It’s not the first time such a technique has been employed, but it’s the first time it’s been used to such a huge scale.
While it’s not hard to “see” black holes due to the incredible light they emit from gobbling up matter, the images taken of them appear as a bright blue. The Event Horizon Telescope aims to provide a clear image depicting the ring around the black hole and its shadow.
“A long standing goal in astrophysics is to directly observe the immediate environment of a black hole with angular resolution comparable to the event horizon,” according to the Event Horizon Telescope website. “Realizing this goal would open a new window on the study of general relativity in the strong field regime, accretion and outflow processes at the edge of a black hole, the existence of an event horizon, and fundamental black hole physics. Steady long-term progress on improving the capability of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) at short wavelengths has now made it extremely likely that this goal will be achieved within the next decade.”