Scientists Are Ready To Capture The First Ever Image Of Black Hole

Posted: Feb 20 2017, 2:55pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 20 2017, 3:03pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

Scientists are Ready to Capture the First Ever Image of Black Hole
A supermassive black hole is depicted in this artist's concept. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

It could take until the beginning of 2018 before we see the first real photo of a black hole

Scientists believe they are on the verge of obtaining the first ever image of a black hole.

By stitching together data collected from radio telescopes scattered around the world, researchers are hoping to produce the first actuall image of a black hole in April this year.

The radio telescopes of this large-scale project are collectively known as Event Horizon Telescope and they will simultaneously observe a monstrous black hole at the center of our galaxy from 5 to 14 April.

The black hole, called Sagittarius A, is about 4 million times massive than sun and is located 26,000 light years away from Earth. Sagittarius A has never been seen directly but scientists know it exists due to its effect on nearby stars.

“There's great excitement. We've been fashioning our virtual telescope for almost two decades now, and in April we're going to make the observations that we think have the first real chance of bringing a black hole's event horizon into focus.” Project leader Sheperd Doeleman from Massachusetts Institute of Technology told BBC News.

Black holes are one of the most fascinating objects in the universe that lie in the core of the gigantic galaxies. Black holes are almost invisible bodies and researchers cannot directly observe them with X-ray telescopes that use light to detect an object. Their gravitational field is so dense that not even light can escape.

Researchers can, however, infer their presence by detecting their effect on other matter nearby. For instance, a star that strays too close to a black hole will be ripped apart by its gravitational force.

To produce the first image of a black hole, Event Horizon Telescope will use a technique called interferometry. The technique combines data from various sources to create a pattern which can be measured and analyzed. The data will be recorded onto hard drives and will sent to MIT Haystack Observatory in Massachusetts for further processing.

“Our hard-drive modules hold the capacity of about 100 standard laptops," said Vincent Fish from MIT Haystack Observatory.

"We have multiple modules at each telescope and we have numerous telescopes in the array. So, ultimately, we're talking about 10,000 laptops of data.”

We could expect to see the first image of a black hole at the end of the year or perhaps the start of 2018.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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