Category : Technology
Science magazine published a list of the greatest scientific achievements of humanity in the slowly ending year of 2019. It abounded in many fascinating discoveries, but only one of them was really groundbreaking.
Of course, it could not have been anything other than the first image of space exploration in the center of the massive black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy, which is the largest and brightest object in the constellation of Virgo. That is why scientists have decided to take this fascinating part of space under the microscope.
The discovery was made thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope project. It is a network of about 20 radio antennas located all over the world, which have been coupled together in such a way that they form one large dish of the size of the whole Earth. Only in this way could it be possible to effectively observe and record the shadow of the black hole event horizon.
We now know that the supermassive black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy has a mass of 6.5 billion solar masses and is 55 million light-years away. As for the shadow itself (the dark area in the center of the image below), it measures 40 billion kilometers, and the event horizon is about 2.5 times smaller than it.
Astronomers working on the Event Horizon Telescope project have received over $3 million to continue their work. This is great news, because it will allow them to prepare another astronomical surprise next year. Then, our eyes are to appear razor-sharp images combined into a film, in which we will see how one of the huge black holes devours the surrounding matter. Scientists ensure that this view will be spectacular and will be remembered for a long time.
But that's not all, astronomers from the University of Radboud and the European Space Agency are proposing the construction of a network of radio telescopes, this time in Earth orbit, thanks to which we will see these unusual objects in such details that we have not previously given.
In the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, an article appeared in which we can read that two or three satellites specialized only for observing black holes are sufficient. Scientists have even given a name to their project, namely Event Horizon Imager (EHI).
What's most interesting, the researchers have already prepared graphics, thanks to which we can see what the images of the shadow and the horizon of the Sagittarius A events will look like a huge black hole located in the center of our galaxy from the new observation system. Admittedly, they will be breathtaking, and for astronomers will become an extremely valuable source of information about these objects, as well as an object of research on various theories.
The domain of the cosmic Event Horizon Imager is to be working at much higher frequencies than Earth's Event Horizon Telescope. The latter took pictures of a black hole lying in Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the Virgo Cluster, at a frequency of 230 Ghz. Meanwhile, ETI will allow up to 690 Ghz. This means that the images will be filled with details that cannot be obtained through ground systems, and yet they are key data on issues of research into the essence of the functioning of these objects.