A Major Breakthrough with the Release of Black Hole Image

The ring of fire surrounding the black hole The ring of fire surrounding the black hole

On April 10, 2019, a team of international scientists released the first image of ‘black hole’ captured from the assorted set of telescopes to gather an insight into the celestial objects. This was considered to be a major breakthrough in the realm of Astrophysics.

The research was initiated by the team of Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a global collaboration which began its operation in 2012 to witness the environment of a black hole using a network of various telescopes. The project was proposed by Prof. Heino Falcke from the Radboud University in the Netherlands.

Falcke preconceived the idea in 1993 when he was a Ph.D. student but no one imagined that the project would be possible. He further realized that a kind of emission from the radio can be sent nearer to the black hole and it would be strong and powerful enough to get detected by the Earth-based telescopes. He also suggested that due to the higher gravity, the black holes appeared to be 2.5 times larger than it actually was.

“Heaviest black holes that ever existed and has a mass of 6.5 billion times that of the sun”

The black hole, described as ‘monster’ by the scientists is located in a faraway galaxy and measures around three million times the size of our Earth. It is situated at a distance of 500 million trillion km away and was captured using eight earth-based telescopes.

Coloured image of black hole
Coloured image of black hole

What does the image show?

The image captured by the team portrays a ‘ring of fire’ that surrounds the monster (black hole) in a perfectly circular pattern. The light is formed due to the superheated gas that flows into the hole and the light is brighter than the light produced together by all the stars of the galaxy. And due to such a reason, it cannot be easily witnessed from the Earth. The gas enters the black hole through the edge of the dark circle in the center. The center has a larger gravitational pull and not even a small ray of light can escape through it.


What is a black hole?

A black hole is a small area in the space through which not even a light can escape. They are highly difficult to spot even though they possess a great mass. It’s not as the name suggests; the black hole isn’t empty. The hole consists of a large amount of matter which is accumulated into a short area and possesses an extraordinary gravitational pull.

“Event Horizon – It is referred to the region of space lying beyond the black hole”

The announcement regarding the image release of a black hole was made simultaneously in different news conferences at Washington, Tokyo, Brussels, Taipei, Santiago, and Shanghai.

The black hole lies in the nearby Virgo galaxy (center of Messier 87) and is about 54 million light years away from our planet Earth. According to France Cordova, the director of the US National Science Foundation, said, “It is a huge and celebrated day in the Astrophysics and that we are seeing the unseeable”.

Because the black holes do not allow the passage of light, there was a difficulty in viewing the hole appropriately. Black holes are a simple object but they lead to the emergence of challenging questions regarding the nature of our space and our ultimate existence.

Now that the first image is captured, it will enable and motivate the scientists to get more breakthroughs regarding such existing mysterious objects in the space. The bright light around the hole is still a mystery to be revealed.