The first-ever image of the black hole residing at the nucleus of Messier 87, an enormous galaxy in the neighboring Virgo galaxy cluster, was captured back in April 2017. The visual representation is proving a supermassive black hole and its shadow, according to Keiichi Asada, an EHT project member and associate researcher at Academia Sinica.
Dr. Joey Neilsen from Villanova University explained that utilizing the EHT and Chandra at once was crucial in the understanding of the astronomic context of the black hole and its neighbor galaxy.
A Lengthy Process Led To An Amazing Discovery
As per NASA, eight radio telescopes located on different places on Earth worked simultaneously to shoot an image of the shadow of this black hole. The first image of a black hole has been captured by the EHT (Event Horizon Telescope), an array of eight radio telescopes located on four different continents, and specifically designed for this purpose.
However, the telescopes gathered so much data, four petabytes, that it could not be digitally transmitted. It had to be physically shipped before the images could be processed.
In other words, the black hole that was captured, called M87, is wider than the entire Solar System, approximately three million times the size of our planet.
Scientists have implied that if an object’s mass attained incredibly high levels, it would collapse in on itself into a singularity, a spot in space and time in which gravity is so powerful that the physics laws are irrelevant. Optical telescopes are not able to draw such a conclusion, mainly because both the probable target black holes are implanted within thick clouds of dust and stars that block the view.
A supermassive black hole is the broadest kind of black hole, with a mass that is hundreds of thousands to billions of times larger than that of our Sun. The black hole found at the core of our galaxy is known as Sagittarius A.
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