What humanity learned from the first-ever image of a black hole

This is the first

Black hole seen for first time in image showing matter being sucked into timeless oblivion

As stunning and ground-breaking as it is, the EHT project is not just about taking on a challenge.

A scene from "Interstellar" was thought to be the most realistic movie depiction ever of a black hole.

To cut a long story short: Einstein was right.

So, to achieve this, a global network of eight ground-based telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope project banded together to create one large telescope, designed to collect light data from the black hole. Against the black backdrop of the inky beyond, capturing one is a near impossible task.

We get this partial information. Not only are they able to emit huge jets of plasma, but their vast gravity pulls in streams of matter into its core. And when the German physicist Karl Schwarzschild wrote to him that year to raise the possibility of black holes and calculating the radius of their event horizons, Einstein initially dismissed black holes as a mathematical anomalies. And a quick glance will show you that it doesn't look anything like Gargantua, the black hole in the movie Interstellar.

Katie's method of processing the raw data was instrumental in creating the first ever black hole image.

'Congrats to the scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope team, on finding that Soundgarden album we shot into space back in '94, ' one fan quipped.

Haystack also received disks with recorded data from those observatories and processed them in a supercomputer.

The black hole from the galaxy Messier 87 got the meme treatment here on Earth shortly after its internet debut.

It has been nearly a century since Albert Einstein first made the historic prediction of the existence of black holes in his theory of gravity. As noted by the EHT team, it is like being in NY and trying to count the dimples on a golf ball in Los Angeles, or imaging an orange on the moon.

To photograph something so impossibly far away, the team needed a telescope as big as the Earth itself.

The data collected was equivalent to a lifetime collection of selfies from 40,000 people, said discovery team member Daniel Marrone of the University of Arizona. That isn't a single instrument but rather a collection of seven radio telescopes from around the world.

Yet many on Twitter couldn't help but see their favorite ring-shaped food in the image. In one photo from the BBC, Bouman is standing next to a table stacked with hard drives of data.

It sounds odd to keep saying Einstein is right, but every time his general relativity theory is confirmed, "we kill a cloud of alternative theories" and gain better understanding how to create an even more comprehensive theory of physics, said Ethan Vishniac of Johns Hopkins University. Here, Einstein's theory predicted the observations from M87 with unerring accuracy, and is seemingly the correct description of the nature of space, time, and gravity.

Perhaps most notably, the Interstellar black hole has a thin streak of matter around its centre, which M87's black hole seems to lack.

Nolan did take some artistic licence with the appearance of the film's black hole, as we've previously explained, including things like lens flare.

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