‘Earth-sized telescope’ captures black hole, predicted by Einstein more than 100 years ago

“What was is in the mind of astronomers, is now there for a world to see,” said Deane who was part of a team of 200 people from 40 countries that analysed the data.

“This is the extremes of physics. If you want to test physics you go to its extremes,” said Deane. “That fundamentally is what that means to me.”

In Brussels where Deane was celebrating, the Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Carlos Moedas, said: “The history of science will be divided into the time before the image and the time after image.”

Moedas said it was incredible to see an image as imagined by Einstein “more than 100 years ago”.

Scientists who were part of the Event Horizon Telescope needed a telescope as big as earth to take photos. The photos are of a shadow of the black hole – not the hole itself as a black hole absorbs light.

So they used telescopes in six locations around the world that took photos at the same time to create an image that would look like it had been taken by an earth-sized telescope.

Dr Luciano Rezzolla from Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany said at the media conference the photos were all taken at the same time over four days.

“We had fantastic luck. We had good weather across the globe.  The telescopes were synchronised with atomic clocks.”

Rezzolla said the data taken from the telescopes occupied  “six cubic metres of disks”.

Different teams checked the data over six months, Rezolla explained.

Every telescope was different so each data team had to correct the data to take into account the different telescope measurements and then combine them to from one large telescope photo.

This data was then extracted and made into a photo.

Independent teams repeated the imaging process, making a picture from the data to ensure it was the same and to get rid of human error.

They know it is a black hole because it matches all the theoretical predictions of how it would look. 

One of the scientists speaking at the launch said, “We are looking at a region we have looked at before. It feels like looking at the gates of hell at the end of space and time.  It is awe inspiring to me at least  It is important for physics. It looks like a ring of fire.”

Scientists at the launch said that with this technology they would make unexpected discoveries that would transform the study of gravity.  It also proved Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Deane said the Event Horizon Telescope’s next plan was to look at a black hole in the earth’s galaxy that is a thousand times smaller and a thousand times faster than the one seen on the photos that was much further away.


Source link : https://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/world/2019-04-11-earth-sized-telescope-captures-black-hole-predicted-by-einstein-more-than-100-years-ago/

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Publish date : 2019-04-11 04:20:35

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