Today we are all lucky to witness an image of a black hole for the first time. The image of the black hole, M87*, was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) a collection of telescopes positioned around the world which combined to boost their power in order to create the first of its kind image.
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Understandably the world is freaking out about the EHT’s massive achievement. We have collated just some of the reactions on Twitter to the big news.
Obviously, the similarity between the Eye of Sauron and M87 were made immediately obvious.
Oh look a photo of a black hole.....wait a damn minute....middle earth ?!?! #BlackHolepic.twitter.com/TOXZlPrxJc— Rick (@KickAssTakeNaps) April 10, 2019
I knew I've seen it somewhere before... #blackholepic.twitter.com/hN4Wupbsh7— 9GAG (@9GAG) April 10, 2019
Ananya Bhattacharya said what many of us might have been thinking.
All my relationships ... in one picture.#BlackHolepic.twitter.com/twH1AvQxTc— Ananya Bhattacharya (@ananya116) April 10, 2019
Others may have been taking the joke a little too far.
First #BlackHole photography is now available for all humans to see it. Congratulations Event Horizon Telescope. pic.twitter.com/PL5LScykvE— MASTER IORDA (@tugamisto) April 10, 2019
One Twitter user is excited and hopeful about the next breakthrough in science.
I am sure the spatial resolution of the #blackhole images will get better in future. pic.twitter.com/uN9lmN9fGe— Fakhar Khalid (@FakharKhalid) April 10, 2019
Many Twitter users pointed out that the image will be a chance to examine longheld theories like those proposed by Einstein.
Don't worry, Masters. Even if you were wrong, we will discover something new. #BlackHolepic.twitter.com/fxBf9IiyKh— Gantan E. Murty (@SherlockGantan) April 9, 2019
What actually is it?
The black hole is located in a distant galaxy is 40 billion km across, with a mass about 6.5-billion times that of the Sun. Scientists working on the project describe it as "a monster."
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The eight linked telescopes managed to capture the phenomenon despite it being 500 million trillion km away. The image which is being shared across the world shows an intensely bright ring surrounding an ominous circular black hole.
The ‘ring of fire’ is created by superheated gas falling into the hole. To put just how bright that ring is into perspective, scientist estimate it is brighter than all the billions of other stars in the galaxy combined.
This hard-to-fathom intensity allows it to be seen from Earth. Observe the edge of the dark circle carefully that is where the gas enters the black hole. An object with such an intense gravitational pull that not even light can escape.
The incredibly difficult task was accomplished by a huge collaborative effort of international scientist and researchers. They used a technique known as Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), which was essentially a network of radio telescopes around the world which coordinated their efforts to produce a series of images from different vantage points.
Then a supercomputer spent two years stitching together the more than one million gigabytes of data captured by the telescopes to create the image we see today.