There are many discoveries happening around the world and one of the latest discovery encountered is an image of a black hole. scientists have again proved and achieved a milestone by capturing the never-before first image of a black hole which was unseen before. The article below will look at the nature of the black hole, who first came up with this theory, how it is formed and the latest work out of the scientists.I hope through this article the readers will learn more about the black hole.
The black hole was one of the most bizarre celestial objects in the universe. Here the gravitational force is at its peak. The force of gravity is so much that it does not even allow light to escape. Till now the concept of the black hole, its structure and various phenomena related to it was just theoretical.On 10th April 2019 the first image of a black hole was released in the public and after that Social media are flooded with news of first image of a black hole by event horizon telescope (ETH).The image obtained is of a black hole which is at the center of massier galaxy Messier 87, in the constellation of Virgo. its mass is 6.5 billion times larger than sun and is located 55 million light years from earth.
It was in 1916, Albert Einstein predicted about black holes with his general theory of relativity. The term black hole was coined in 1967 by John Wheeler the America astronomer. He had collaboration with Neil Bohr and Albert Einstein. Before 1967 not much research was performed on black hole and they were called as frozen stars or dark stars. When the term black hole was coined It became crystal clear and everyone could come up with imagination especially the physicists. But the recent discovery is remarkable and it will be ticked in history for life time. Subsequently, it will also give validation to the Einstein theory of relativity.
It is rightly said that everything has to face an end. Likewise, when stars with mass greater than about 20 times the mass of our sun in the sky reach an endpoint a black hole is formed. Mainly because hydrogen which is fused into helium is depleted. When this internal thermonuclear fuel is depleted, the core is unstabilised and gravity collapses inward upon itself and the outer layers of the star are expelled out. This is also known a supernova.
When the star is at a collapsing point, the core compacts into a mathematical point with virtually nill volume and it is said to have infinite density. This phenomenon is called a singularity.
The scientists from international scientific collaboration called “the event horizon telescope project” established a network of the telescope. Nearly eight telescopes were utilised across the world, which monitored the black hole for a period of 10 days.
The image was the result of 10 years of planning and investment of $50 million and over 200 scientists across the world were responsible for this image.
One of the recognized computer scientists is 29 years old Katie Bouman. She was a graduate student at the computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT.
Bouman achieved her bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan and right now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard-Smithsonian center for astrophysics.
But the interesting fact is, six years ago she had no experience studying black holes before getting involved in this project.
“I go after problems that excite me. When I started this project, I didn’t know anything about black holes and honestly, it was a risky project,” – Bouman. “But my heart was in this project. I love this project, and I think that that’s what makes it a success. When you get really smart people together, who are super motivated by the problem that they’re working on, I think people will figure out the answers.”
More than 200 researchers were part of this programme and roughly 40 were women- The New York Times. “There were lots of people on these teams,” says Bouman. “I don’t want to call out any person as the leader.”
Bouman developed a new algorithm which allowed the scientists to capture the image of the black hole.
To capture the image of the black hole it requires the earth-size telescope which is not practical hence they build a computational earth size telescope.
the computational telescope is the event horizon telescope, these telescopes were already built around the world and it helped to observe at the required wavelength. these were connected together to form a network which worked together. Readings from Telescopes were taken which were located throughout the globe, from Chile to Antartica, and the team of scientists had to wait for just the right conditions to take the picture. Once the telescopes were coordinated scientists were asked to interpret the huge amount of data. About five petabytes of data were collected which is approximately 5000 laptops of data, its is like freezing light on to these hard-drives.
Scientists were assembled into four teams and study was conducted for many years to develop a method.
I don’t think any one method should be highlighted — because most of all, we were afraid of shared human bias,” says Bouman. “If I made an image with my method and and it looks like a ring, I don’t want someone to look at my picture and then subconsciously make their image look like a ring too”.
Hence after dividing into four teams the scientists did not communicate while they were analysing the data. After few months of independent working, all merged at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and functioned their algorithm in the same room,at a same time. finally leading to black hole image which has a ring and is comparatively more brighter at the bottom.
Black hole no doubt is most fascinating aspect of physics. The recent photo depicts its beauty. It was hidden for centuries from humanity. As it was unseen black holes seemed to be fiction. But scientists with the help of advanced technology could find a breakthrough and ultimately succeeded in imaging of black hole. After this discovery black holes will no longer be just a theoretical objects. Recent discovery will also open several doors in astrophysics and will lead to many more discoveries in future. We need to appreciate all the scientists who participated in this project for their immense hard work and dedication. A lot of young people like Bouman are required in research field to explore many more adventurous and mysterious aspects of nature.