Mon. Apr 22nd, 2019

An international team of scientists presents the first image of a black hole | Science

An international team of scientists presents the first image of a black hole | Science



The international consortium Event Horizon Telescope (EHT, for its acronym in English), today presents its first results in several simultaneous press conferences around the world. In Spain, the event is coordinated by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) from Madrid. The press conference will be able to be seen from 15.00, Spanish peninsular time, in EL PAÍS.

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EHT is a group of eight radio telescopes in the US, Mexico, Chile, Spain and Antarctica, which in 2017 observed two black holes synchronously: one in the center of the galaxy, called Sagittarius A *, and another still larger in the neighboring galaxy M87. Together, the eight observatories act as a single satellite dish the size of Earth.

Until now, the existence of these extremely dense objects is known only by indirect methods

The international team is expected to present today, after two years of data analysis, the first image ever captured of a black hole. Until now, the existence of these extremely dense objects is known only by indirect methods, but one has never been observed. Black holes are astronomical bodies so massive that they generate a gravitational field from which no particle escapes, not even light. Sagittarius A * has the mass of four million suns.

Although the black hole, by definition, can not be seen, the gas that falls to it is heated to millions of degrees and shines. Facing that background illumination could be observed a dark silhouette that is the shadow of the black hole. The theory of general relativity formulated a century ago by Albert Einstein predicts the shape and size that this shadow should have. Observing it directly will mean a new test for the equations of the famous physicist.

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