US-based physicist John Archibald Wheeler coined the 'black hole' term in mid-1960s. The terminology means a point located in space where matter is so compressed as to create a gravity field through which even light cannot pass through.
In a groundbreaking scientific achievement, astronomers have released the first image of a black hole. Scientists have been striving to ascertain photographic details of black holes since the 18th century but their efforts couldn’t attain major success. Black hole continues to lure astrophysicists and the historic moment arrived when one of the invisible ‘dark stars’ was finally captured by a highly advanced by a telescopes, as per reports.
Top facts about first photo of black hole
Black hole meaning, details: US-based physicist John Archibald Wheeler coined the ‘black hole’ term in mid-1960s. The terminology means a point located in space where matter is so compressed as to create a gravity field through which even light cannot pass through. The dimension of the hole depends upon the size of the mass. Black holes are so big that the earth and the sun would fit in such celestial thing. Director of Black Hole Initiative at Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb likened black holes to walls of a prison. He said once someone has crossed these walls, there is no-way-out.
Depiction of first image of black hole: At first glance, the image looks like that of a dark core encircled by a flame-orange halo of white-hot gas and plasma. As per an AP report, the picture was made with equipment that detects wavelengths invisible to the human eye. For this particular reason, astronomers had added colour with an aim to showcase the ferocious heat of the gas and dust that is seen as glowing at a temperature of perhaps millions of degrees. But in reality, the black hole might not bear the same look as shown in the released image.
Details of the black hole: The image of the black hole, which has been released by the scientists, is located in a galaxy known as M87. This is 50 million light years away from the earth. Taking an image of M87’s supermassive black hole at such distance is comparable to photographing a pebble on the Moon. At the same scale of compression, Earth would fit inside a thimble. The Sun would measure a mere six kilometres edge-to-edge, as per the reports.
Black hole image release date: The telescope data was gathered two years ago precisely on December 23, 2017. However, completing the image and presenting it before the world involved an enormous undertaking, involving an international team of scientists, supercomputers and hundreds of terabytes of data.
How the black hole image was captured? Behind every pioneering scientific discovery, there have been a great amount of teamwork and years of toil that led to the eureka moment. Instead of building a giant telescope, scientists combined many observatories. In April 2017, eight radio telescopes positioned in Arizona, Hawaii, Spain, Chile, Mexico and the South Pole zeroed in on Sagittarius A* and M87. In the end, M87 turned out to be more photogenic. Helger Rottmann from the Max Planck Institute, who was involved in the project, said the team awaited for data from the South Pole Telescope. However, this came six months later from April due to the harsh climate prevalent during the southern hemisphere winter. The date came on December 23, 2017. It took another year to compile the data to make the image.