We have already reported on the preparations to one of the most important events in the history of space exploration – taking pictures of a black hole. Scientists from all over the world combined their knowledge, equipment, efforts to achieve something that was unthinkable just a few years ago.
The cooperation of so many countries was conducted within the project called Event Horizon Telescope. The states that had their share of success include Great Britain, Russia, China, Germany, United States, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan and many others.
Using 8 extremely powerful radio-telescopes, set up on 5 continents, numerous specialists and having processed hundreds of gigabytes of data, the humanity snapped a very important shot. We now know for sure what a black hole looks like.
The photo was first published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, and afterwards it appeared on the site of the National Science Foundation.
This black hole was given a name Pōwehi. From the Hawaiian language, it roughly translates as “embellished dark source of unending creation”. The hole is located in the middle of a giant galaxy called Messier 87. Its distance from the Earth is around 55 million light-years, so it clearly does not threat our planet.
But if it was actually closer, we would be in real danger. Surrounded by a belt of hot gas, swirling at an enormous speed, the black hole, which weighs 6.5 billion times bigger than our Sun, is capable of distorting any matter in the universe. Happen we to be near, our planet would be sucked in quicker than in a blink of an eye.
The Pōwehi consists of a huge amount of energy which is deadly. No matter has a chance to ever escape the black hole and return to the universe. The event horizon is actually a scientific term, which means the point of no return in a black hole.
The scientists all over the world are euphoric with such an important step in the exploration of space. France Córdova, the director of the National Science Foundation said:
“This is a huge day in astrophysics. We’re seeing the unseeable. Black holes have sparked imaginations for decades. They have exotic properties and are mysterious to us. Yet with more observations like this one they are yielding their secrets.”
And last, but not least, we could not miss out on the fact that the black hole looks very similar to the Eye of Sauron from “Lord of the Rings”. A lot of memes have already been created regarding this matter 🙂
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