Scientists from all over the world came together recently and did the unimaginable. With the help of over 200 scientists, researchers, and investors, a planet-wide telescope was created and used to capture the first ever image of a black hole.
The black hole that was photographed sits just 53-million light years away in the galaxy Messier 87. Scientists were able to capture an image of it because of how large it is. With a mass of around 6.5 billions times the mass of our sun, M87s black hole is one of the largest in the vicinity of the Milky Way.
Dr. Jason Best, a Professor of Atromomy and Astrophysics at Shepherd University, could barely contain his excitment. “This is tremendous. This shows us what is possible when we work collaborativly, and internationally.”
Dr. Best went on to say “what the event horizon telescope was able to image was that surface. That boundry. That point of no return. For the first time ever, we are able, as astronomers, to see that boundry. And that helps us to think about what lies beyond.”
The image captured shows the event horizon of the Black Hole. As described, this is the point of no return. After an object passes the event horizon, no light escapes and it is at the mercy of the infinite gravity that exists inside a black hole.
When asked if Black Holes are just a portal to a different dimension, Chris Kopco, the Planetarium Teacher in Washington County, MD, told us this is most likely not the case. “It can be different depending on the mass of the hole, but some people will talk about Spaghettification. If you were to jump into a black hole feet first, your feet and legs would get stretched, followed by the rest of your body.” Kopco also said, more likely, your body would just be ripped to shreds.
To make this event even more fascinating, scientists were able to finally confirm Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity with this one image.
Black Hole image: Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration et al
Animation: Chris Jones (https://www.chrisjonesanimation.com/)
National Science Foundation