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NASA captures the first image of a black hole ever!


Black hole. A word we’ve been hearing in the news and social media since yesterday in relation to the first image of a black hole has definitely quipped my curiosity. I’m sure you want to know more about it too.
hence, here goes,

Black holes are where God divided by zero - Aptly quoted by Einstein. 

 A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. Anything that gets into that space cannot escape. The gravity is so strong because the matter has been squeezed into a tiny space.
Because no light can get out, people can’t see black holes.

Types of black holes-

One type of black hole is called “stellar.” Its mass can be up to 20 times more than the mass of the sun. There may be many, many stellar-mass black holes in Earth’s galaxy. 

The largest black holes are called “supermassive.” These black holes have masses that are more than 1 million suns together. Despite the mass, it is actually really tiny in size, almost similar to that of an atom of hydrogen! Scientists have found proof that every large galaxy contains a supermassive black hole at its center.

Description: Supermassive black hole
Area of discovery: Messier 87
Source: NASA

Here’s what happened and how did they capture the first image of a black hole?

Katie Bowman, an MIT graduate, along with her team developed an algorithm that created the first image of a black hole ever, which was previously considered impossible by some people.

The first image of a black hole is that of a  supermassive black hole in M87 galaxy that was put out was not a one day job or even that of a week. The data, with the help of eight radio observatories on six mountains and four continents which observed the galaxy in Virgo on and off for 10 days in April 2017 was being analyzed for 2 years to produce this image.
The data collected had to be combined together and the technique used was Very-long-baseline Interferometry, which involved talking all signals which were a lot and had to be recorded in hard drives, which were later correlated and then an image was extracted. 

Here’s something interesting -

  • The theory that light always travels in a straight line apparently does not hold true to black holes. The light gets bent by the black hole somewhere in the middle, that the light we’re seeing coming around the sides is emitted around the back of the black hole and being bent right around by 90 degrees and more to head towards our line of sight. Light gets bent by gravity
  • The orange-yellow ring visible in the image isn’t necessarily orange or yellow as a matter of fact. What we are looking at is radio- waves and they can be any color we want them to be, fundamentally.  
  • The supermassive black hole is 50 million lightyears away in M87.

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