At last the moment we have all been waiting for is here. I am delighted to be able to tell to you all that we have seen what we thought was un-seeable. Congratulations to all the scientists and researchers for their achievement for which we have seen and taken a picture of a black hole. Yes, That’s True. The first ever photo of a black hole, more specifically the supermassive black hole 55 million light-years away and almost the size of our entire solar system.
Finally….The First Ever Photo of A Black Hole
How we captured it?
It took only two years. 12,000 simulations, 200 researchers, 60 institutes and an international partnership of radio telescope sites spread across the world, to get it. And it will finally tell us if Einstein’s theory of general relativity’s prediction of black holes was right or wrong. I know that’s a hefty claim which is why this is a big deal. But don’t fret, he was right, and it’s been confirmed that his theory holds up. As we may all know, a black hole is one of the most extreme environments in the universe.
Well, nothing, not even light can escape its event horizon. So, these images are not even the real thing. But we can look at the materials going into a black hole, like gas, stars, and other astrophysical bodies. The atoms of these materials are pulled into the intense gravity of the black hole, which then tosses them around at extreme speeds. All that commotion causes the atoms to heat up into white-hot emissions of X-ray and other high-energy radiation. This is what the teams at the EHT detected with M87. The researchers call this bright orbiting disk of hot material, the black hole’s shadow.
Does it prove the existence of Black Hole?
The shadow is what they all worked up about. Because just to remind you every other photo you’ve seen up to this point, has been an artist illustration. Every Single One. When these images were made black holes had never been seen and still a theory. A well-known and highly accepted theory, but a theory nonetheless. So, this photo not only proves the existence of black holes but the shape of its shadow, verifies what we currently understand about theoretical physics.
Einstein Theory of General Relativity
In 1915, Einstein proposed his theory of general relativity that explains pretty much how gravity interacts with space and time to shape the universe. He also predicted that the light would bend by a certain amount when coming near immense gravity, like our sun. Except for his theory of gravity is independent of the modern theories of quantum mechanics. These two pillars that uphold physics just don’t work together. So, one of these theories has to budge.
Black holes are one of the places to look for answers and it looks like general relativity may have the edge, as it’s just been proven to hold up near one of the most extreme environments known to man. Next steps will be understanding quantum gravity. It is great that we can see it verified, but we use this every day for satellite communication. It is a very integral part of our understanding of the universe. There are many people thinking about this also, but I am fascinated by black holes and quantum gravity, and how does gravity actually work?
Researchers had only an idea on what they should expect from the photo based on their calculations of the black hole. An asymmetrical lopsided ring of sorts with the disk’s light warped around the event horizon. Which is what we got. After 12,000 simulations, they produced this photo, that matches what Einstein predicted, and it’s an amazing feat because even the slightest deviation from general relativity could have created different shadows entirely. Plus, this is just another win for Einstein since the discovery of the gravitational waves in 2016 and the observations of “gravitational redshift” at Sagittarius A-star.
So, What’s Next?
Just because the EHT project made event history, they are not just going to pack up their gear and head home. Nah, that’s not how this works. In fact, now that they have proven the existence of one of the most tremendous events to happen in the universe, they are going to dig deeper. There are some very interesting things that they want to follow up with i.e., the asymmetries around the ring, the brightness in the southern part, so there will be a lot of future work on this to sharpen their focus on gravity.
Once again, I just want to congratulate the countless researchers worldwide that made this first ever photo of a black hole possible and for always pushing the seemingly impossible realms of science just a bit further into reality.