This is the first visual evidence of a black hole, which was just released by astronomers working with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a network of linked radio telescopes across the globe that effectively make an Earth-sized instrument used to measure the emission regions of black holes. Some more info while I ponder the secrets of the universe. "You're taking a nap, aren't you?" That's between me and the furthest stall in the bathroom:
The image is of the supermassive black hole that lies at the centre of the huge Messier 87 galaxy, in the Virgo galaxy cluster. Located 55 million light-years from Earth, the black hole has been determined to have a mass 6.5-billion times that of the Sun, with an uncertainty of 0.7 billion solar masses. Although black holes are inherently invisible because of their extreme density and gravitational field, the researchers have managed to obtain images near the point where matter and energy can no longer escape - the so-called event horizon.
"We are giving humanity its first view of a black hole -- a one-way door out of our universe," says Sheperd Doeleman of the Haystack Observatory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who is the EHT's lead astronomer. "This is a landmark in astronomy, an unprecedented scientific feat accomplished by a team of more than 200 researchers." Doeleman says that the result would have "presumed to be impossible just a generation ago", adding that breakthroughs in technology and the completion of new radio telescopes over the past decade have allowed researchers to now "see the unseeable".
Oh, it's got a mass 6.5-billion times that of the sun, no biggie. So basically in the image the inner rim of the orange ring is the event horizon -- the point at which nothing, not even light, can escape the black hole's grasp. And the dark part in the very center? Well that -- that's exactly where I wanna be.
Thanks to Jason G and hairless, who agree space is totally nuts.