«Making an image of a black hole is a historic milestone for astronomy with broad Spanish participation». With this tweet, the Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, Pedro Duque, praised the Spanish participation in obtaining the first image of a black hole. We can forget about computer recreation. The investigator José Luis Gómez He is one of the eight Spaniards who participated in the discovery. This scientist from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA) is behind the algorithm that has helped to reconstruct the final image.
- At what point did you know that you had caught the first image of a black hole?
The observations were made in 2017 combining the seven antennas distributed throughout the globe that make up the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). We carried out 70,000 simulations during the days 5, 6, 10 and 11 of April, of which we obtained 50,000 images. We met in July, in a congress, where we compared what we had obtained with different reconstruction techniques and we saw that we had it. If we had not joined so many researchers - about 200 - this result would not have been possible.
These images have been "assembled" to create that first snapshot of a black hole.
We have confirmed Einstein's Theory of Relativity. This image has transformed our vision of the black holes of a mathematical concept into something real that can be studied through repeated astronomical observations.
- Why did they seek to find the shadow of the hole?
It is important to locate this part because black holes are the only objects that have a region where light is trapped (the shadow), which is known as the event horizon (hence the name of the telescope). The shadow always appears surrounded by a ring of light, which is what we have managed to capture.