Scientists Are Close To Imaging A Black Hole Shadow

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Even though we know pretty much about black holes, such as how voracious are they and how they influence the spacetime continuum, we’re still far from knowing everything about these powerful singularities that boast such powerful gravitational forces that not even the light can escape them. Nonetheless, we don’t have an image of a black hole. Now, scientists are close to imaging a black hole shadow.

Although there are many scientific and artistic interpretations of how a black hole might look like, nobody has really seen one, and everything we observe in movies, on the Internet, or scientific studies is based on imagination and reviews of the swirls of matter that surround black holes and which are visible because they emit small amounts of light. On the other hand, taking photos of black holes, directly, is impossible since the singularity absorbs the light, remaining invisible.

Now, fortunately, scientists believe they’re close to imaging a black hole shadow, that is a black hole’s silhouette, thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) readings.

Scientist Are Close To Imaging A Black Hole Shadow

According to Sera Markoff from the University of Amsterdam, the astronomers captured “very high-quality data at the very high resolutions necessary to observe the black hole shadow, if it’s really there.” That means the Event Horizon Telescope did some readings which are still processed by scientists, and they might finally reveal how a black hole shadow looks like.

“The size of the shadow that even our nearest supermassive black holes would imprint on the sky is very tiny. Think about the size of the Moon. It depends on its size and distance, and if you moved the Moon far away it would appear smaller and smaller until finally, you couldn’t see it with your eyes, and then you would need a telescope. And if you kept moving it further, you’d eventually need better telescopes to see it, until finally, even that wouldn’t be possible,” said Markoff for Salon.com.

“Radiation emitted behind the black hole is absorbed by it and causes the appearance of a silhouette, a dark black hole shadow compared to the surroundings. On one side of the shadow, we see material moving towards us whereas on the other side we see material receding away from us. Relativistic beaming of the radiation makes the approaching side much brighter, making the appearance of a Moon crescent,” also explained Abraham Loeb from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, on Salon.com.