(AFP)
(AFP)

Scientists unveil first image ever made of a black hole

  • Event Horizon Telescope released the first results of its findings, in a ‘ground-breaking’ discovery that proved Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity
  • Black holes form from remnants of a large star that dies in a supernova explosion

Brussels: Scientists have revealed the first-ever glimpse of a super-massive black hole today, as the Event Horizon Telescope released the first results of its findings, in a ‘ground-breaking’ discovery that proved Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

The results were presented simultaneously by researchers in Brussels, Santiago de Chile, Taipei, Tokyo and Washington.

“We’re about to announce a huge break-through for humanity. We’re about to take a picture — a picture that one man alone dreamed alone a hundred years ago: Albert Einstein. The idea that when the mass is too heavy, you make a hole, where nothing can get out of it and all is absorbed," the EU’s chief of research and science Carlos Moedas said at the press conference in Brussels.

The collaboration of scientists reveals what is called the “event horizon," the boundary at the edge of a black hole where the gravitational pull is so strong that no conventional physical laws apply and nothing can escape.

The existence of black holes, one of the more mysterious objects in the cosmos, has been universally accepted even though little is known about them. Black holes form from remnants of a large star that dies in a supernova explosion. Scientists estimate there could be as many as a billion black holes in the Milky Way, according to NASA.

The EHT’s work focuses on two super-massive black holes — the first, dubbed Sagittarius A-star, sits at the center of the Milky Way with a mass of around 4.3 million times that of the sun and located 25,000 light years from earth. The second lies at the core of the M87 elliptical galaxy, about 50 million light years from earth, and is 1,500 times more massive than the Sagittarius A-star.

Eight telescopes across the globe participated in the observations in 2017. They have been connected to create a virtual earth-sized telescope allowing to “measure the size of the emission regions of the two super-massive black holes with the largest apparent event horizons," the EHT says on its website. The telescopes are scattered from volcanoes in Hawaii to Atacama’s desert in Chile to Antarctica and Europe.

'I’m really proud, proud of science because science is giving a lesson to politicians. To take a picture that one man dreamt years ago, you need people from 40 countries. I’m proud of Europe because we have invested so much in this project,' Moedas said. This major scientific achievement marks a paradigm shift in our understanding of black holes, confirms the predictions of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and opens up new lines of enquiry into our universe, the EU said in a statement.

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