Will We Finally Get to See an Image of a Black Hole?

Will We Finally Get to See an Image of a Black Hole?

We will probably get to see an image of a black hole this year, if everything goes according to the plan.

The scientists yesterday had pretty much fun time, focusing their telescopes to the extremely massive black hole which is 26,000 light-years away, right in the center of the galaxy – Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). The project’s name is Event Horizon Telescope or EHT, and starts from April 5 to April 14, which will hopefully come up with results by the end of this year, or at the beginning of 2018.

Gopal Narayanan who takes part in the project at the University of Massachusetts Amherst stated that these particular observations will be of a great importance to them by sorting out some of the wildest theories about the black holes. He also noted that using the data from the project, they will get a clearer picture of the black holes and will learn things they’ve never understood before.

Even though we believe in the existence of the black holes, we haven’t really seen one. However, we can conclude that they do exist by the tracks and effects they leave on our stars and galaxies. This, to say, is a situation with our galaxy, where the stars were spotted while orbiting a peculiar and never seen before, object. We have also witnessed great amount of X-rays along with jet materials which are believed to have been part of a black hole.

Although the black holes are considered to be billion times bigger than our own Sun,  Sgr A* is not much bigger. In size, it is approximately 30 times bigger. That’s why they are very difficult to be seen. It’s like if you try to picture a grapefruit on the Moon, states Narayanan.

Then, the EHT shows up. 14 institutions had taken part on this project, and no less than 10 telescopes will be included to follow and approach Sgr A* using radio waves. Later, these selections will come up with data that will be combined in one set called very long baseline interferometry or VLBI.

EHT will not only study the Sgr A*. Later, it will make an observation on an extra massive black hole in another galaxy. The black hole is about 53.5 million light years away. This black hole is so much larger than our Sun and even larger than the horizon of Sgr A*. It is 4 billion times larger and bigger in mass than the Sun.

There will be a large amount of data delivered from this observation. It is supposed to fly to two locations. The one is Max Planck Institute from Bonn and the other one is the Haystack Observatory in Massachusetts. Because of the big and massive data, its processing will last a little longer.

The EHT’s Director, Shep Doelman, unsure of what they are actually going to find,  stated to IFLScience that they will expect the data to be ready in the summer of 2017, so they can focus their analysis in Autumn, the same year.

He also believes that all the data they will collect will be very exciting and with promising materials. He also believes that they will get positive images of Sgr A* and M87. But, they will also add some more observations. The final results are supposed to come out at the beginning of 2018.

The question of what is in the black hole, and what they will see from the data is that, hopefully, they will get to see the circular horizon which is around the black hole. In this part or region, nothing can escape. And by nothing, we mean, not a single flash of light. Gas will hopefully be seen on the image, flowing around it (the horizon). There should be brightness as well.

This is definitely going to be one of the most significant projects of the history of science. Don’t forget to stay up to date.

Source > iflscience.com

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