The project, which many did not believe in success, ended up triumphing and, for the first time in history, scientists managed to photograph a black hole, a very dense cosmic object whose gravity is so strong that it runs the whole issue that came too close. The Horizon Telescope project, which cost almost 60 million dollars, has involved more than 200 scientists from 20 countries around the world and eight observatories around the world.
His attention has centered around 54 million light years from the supermassive black hole in Earth located in the Mesjie 87 galaxy (M87) in the center. Scientists estimate that this giant has a diameter of 40,000 million kilometers, but its mass is 6.5 million times that of the Sun.
Get ready for the Nobel Prizes
There are a number of facts about the attention received by scientists from this discovery (especially, of course, researchers related to astronomy and astrophysics) Reuters. First of all, official news soon EHT The project's researchers will show the first picture of the black hole, which was released in early April, and the public interest was gradually fueled by the best television shows. Second, press conferences announced on Wednesday took place in Washington, Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo. In third place, the edition Letters of astrophysical newspapers In the last issue, which arose on Wednesday, six non-short publications are devoted to this discovery. And fourth, it is already predicted that the participants in the project will be honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics – if not this year, in the very near future.
"We managed to see what was invisible before. We saw and photographed a black hole, "he said triumphantly EHT head of the Sheperd Decleman project, who works at Harvard – the Smithsonian Astrophysics Center. In turn, the waterloo physicist, Eiveri Broder, who was one of the leaders of the team, spoke AP He said even more patiently: "Scientific fiction has become a scientific fact."
Scientific fiction in this case is not mentioned by accident. Ziri Jounsi, a researcher at London University College, interviewed BBC He noted that the photograph taken is very similar to the black holes imagined so far by the Hollywood film directors and the artists who have attracted them. The picture shows a black circle surrounded by a plasma crown and burned gases with reddish orange, and the main difference with the imagination of the artists is that the image is not so contrasting and even seems to be a mosaic. In 1979, astrophysicist Jean Pierre Luminé developed the first digital black holes model and now admitted that he could not even imagine that during his life he would be able to see a real picture of this cosmic object very similar to his model.
Website news on the Internet LiveScience.com However, he emphasizes that the image obtained by scientists does not correspond to the term photography in its daily sense. That is, to create an image, movements of light photons, but radio waves, are not captured, as well as electromagnetic wavelengths that the senses of human senses can not. Only then did the scientists take the picture coloredto make it clear to everyone that the issue of the black hole is heated to millions of degrees. «The telescopes did not focus on the black hole itself, but on the material already captured by its gravity: a bright, white-white, gas and plasma disc, called acrylic disc. Of the areas behind the black hole, the light that flows is curved like a lens » AFP European Space Agency (THAT) Astrophysicist Paul Maknamara. He was not involved in the study, but he named it "excellent technical achievement".
BBC He writes that the initiator of this project was Professor Heino Falke of the University of Radbouda in the Netherlands, who in 1993, when he was still a student, was thinking about the idea that in the vicinity of black holes the radio signals are strong enough to be captured by telescopes. It's on our planet. At that time there was no such powerful telescope, but returned to his idea after about 20 years, convincing the European Research Council (European Research Council) to finance part of the investigation. Subsequently it was also possible to attract funding from American and Asian countries, and in April 2017, eight radio telescopes installed in the highlands of the United States, Mexico, Spain, Chile and Antarctica went to two sites: our own Milky Way Sagittarius A * and the black hole in the galaxy M87. In contrast to the forecast, it is easier to take a picture of the black hole further away, at 26,000 light years away Sagittarius A * It turned out to be too active and, like scientists laughter, "nephrotoxen."
"Instead of building a gigantic telescope that could collapse due to its enormous weight, we use several observation observations, but then we add your data" AFP Grenoble Institute IRAM astronomer Michael Bremer. By combining single-way radios in different parts of the world, there is indeed an enormous telescope of cells whose mirror diameter is equal to the diameter of the planet. To obtain precise results, these telescopes had to be synchronized with millions of seconds, which was not the simplest task. But that was not all.
"To succeed in the task, we needed to have good visibility in all the regions where the telescopes involved in the study were present" AFP said Pablo Torne, who led the job Pico Veleta Observatory in Spain. Of the ten days that were reserved for the study, four of these meteorological conditions had been and they were able to collect the necessary data. Soon they were sent to the Observatory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Heistek) and to the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, where professionals had to work hard to build this mosaic and filter the different electromagnetic interferences of the universe.
LiveScience.com He points out that the transfer of data to research institutions has not been as easy as it may seem. The total amount of information exceeded five Petabytes (approximately the same amount of information is stored in the Library of Congress of the United States) and it was not possible to transfer it over the Internet. Therefore, a lot of hard drives were delivered to Massachusetts and Bonn with data collected. Helge Rotman, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute, speaks AFP said they had to wait a long time from the telescope at the south pole (SPT) Because of bad weather (winter in the southern hemisphere) the ship could not leave the inhospitable continent for months with a valuable charge. "After all, we received this information on December 23, 2017 and it was a real Christmas present," Rotman said.
For more than a year, it was necessary to use the data received to create the image that was presented to the entire world last week. AFP. Project managers did not want to allow the results of the work to be affected by some mistakes or subjective factors, so that four teams that worked independently of each other were entrusted with the creation of an image. But the end result of all the work turned out to be almost identical, which makes it very safe to say: supermassive black holes (more precisely, the horizon of events, in which matter is captured forever), it seems exactly and not.
The theory has been confirmed, there are questions left
Commenting EHT The results of the project, both scientists involved and not related, have stressed that once again the assumptions of theoretical astrophysics have been confirmed, based on the theory of relativity developed by the legendary scientist Albert Einstein. For more than a century, in 1916, the scientist postulated that there are comic objects in the universe with properties that are black holes. For decades such objects have been called dark starsUntil the mid-sixties of the last century, the American physicist John Archibald Willer filed a mandate black hole, which are nowadays heard by most of the planet's population.
One of the most famous astrophysical theorists who turned to explain the phenomenon of the black hole was Steven Hocking, who died last March, who had most of his life hanging in a chair with disabilities. Throughout the years, the theories of S. Hocking evolved and changed, but in the end it reached the same thing that was already proclaimed by A. Einstein: any object that enters the horizon of the events of the black hole (in English). horizon of eventsIt is considered to be lost, which also explains the name of the project. «Supermassive black holes are located in most galaxies (including our Milky Way) and are so dense that no gravity can get rid of them, even light photons. Due to the strong gravity, the light that circulates around the black hole is curved, but the light that entered the horizon of events is thrown into the abyss, along with dust, gas, plasma and other matter, "he writes. AP.
Modern theoretical science distinguishes two types of black holes – ordinary and supermassive. For the first, whose mass is only one million times the mass of the Sun, the thoughts are not divided – they are caused by the collapse of the stars and the gradual absorption of the surrounding matter. But over a supermassive black hole (like zero) M87 The origin of the photography taken in the galaxy is a variety of hypotheses: the fact that they existed forever in the universe and survived not only to the Great Explosion, which is repeated periodically. LiveScience.com Emphasizes that the newly acquired photograph did not answer this question.