10 things you should know about the first BLACKHOLE image ever clicked

So the long awaited image of a blackhole’s accretion disc is here and you may be amazed to look at it yourself.

For quite long black holes have been the most studied topic in astrophysics. From amateurs to professionals, It is something that has intrigued the minds of every Astronomer. Here are 10 less known facts about the black hole that everyone must know.

1. The glowing ring that you see in the image is a halo of gas and dust, tracing the periphery of a gigantic black hole.

2. This black hole is located in the heart of one of the largest galaxies of virgo supercluster of galaxies the M87.

Messier 87 Galaxy – apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap100520.html

3. You are looking 55 million years down the timeline.

You might be astonished to hear that but this black hole is 55 million light years away from our Earth, that also means that light takes 55 million years to reach from this black hole to Earth.

4. This revolutionary image in astrophysics was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) array, which is a network of 8 radio telescopes spread across the Earth from Antarctica to Chile and Spain in a project contributed by more than 200 Astronomers.

Credits: BBC

5. The mass of this black hole is equivalent to the mass of 6.5 billion Suns put together.

6. The accretion disc of the imaged black hole measures 3 million times the size of Earth i.e. 40 billion KMs.

7. This image is a result of an enormous data which was accumulated over 10 days by different telescopes of the Event Horizon Telescope Array. The data was so huge that it could not be sent over internet and was stored in numerous hard drives and flown over to central data processing units at Boston, USA and Bonn, Germany.

8. This image might be a photographic evidence to the Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

9. The Event Horizon Telescope Array was studying 2 Black holes, one at the centre of our Milkyway galaxy, known as “Sagittarius – A” and the one clicked in M87, but surprisingly it took longer to get the image of the black hole at the centre of our own galaxy.

The Centre of Milkyway Galaxy | Source: NASA

10. The process through which the image was clicked is called Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) which involves collection of data from radio telescopes located at different places around the Earth. This data is then analysed using different algorithms on supercomputers. This process effectively creates a virtual telescope equivalent to the size of the Earth.


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