A black hole otherwise known as a cosmic sinkhole, does what it says. In layman’s terms this giant hole can sink in any possible matter into it without leaving any trace of it.
So, how exactly did a 100 year old prediction of Albert Einstein finally get established? To answer this question we need to dig into the scientific aspect of this discovery.
The breakthrough image was captured in an effort involving more than 200 scientists by the Event Horizon telescope (EHT), a network of eight radio telescopes spanning from Antarctica to Spain and Chile. The EHT collects radiation emitted by particles in the disk that are heated to billions of degrees as they swirl around the black hole near the speed of light before disappearing into the sink hole.
Black hole is minute and extremely far-flung and needed a telescope that can pick out a donut from the surface of the moon, which a few years ago seemed far fetched. The EHT achieved the necessary firepower by combining data from eight of the world’s leading radio observatories, including the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (Alma) in Chile and the South Pole Telescope, creating an effective telescope the size of the Earth.
When observations were launched in 2017, the EHT had two primary targets. First was Sagittarius A, the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, which has a mass of about 4m suns. The second target, which yielded the image, was a supermassive black hole in the galaxy M87, into which the equivalent of 6bn suns of light and matter has disappeared.
The success of the project is a result of an excellent partnership between the eight observatories situated at different parts of the world. Observations at the different sites were coordinated using atomic clocks, called hydrogen masers, accurate to within one second every 100 million years. Scientists thank the clear weather conditions which paved half the way to their discovery.
On the whole, the field of science and technology has achieved a new height. Literally.