Scientists await first black hole image, expected Wednesday

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Por: PeriodicoVirtual

Scientists await first black hole image, expected Wednesday

SOMERVILLE MA. – APRIL 5: Dr. Jonathan McDowell, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, at his home on April 5, 2019 in Somerville, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

A first-ever image of the black hole at the heart of our galaxy is expected to be released Wednesday — giving astrophysicists hope that visual evidence of Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity might be at hand.

The Event Horizon Telescope project — an international array of telescopes aligned with the specific purpose of capturing an image of the “supermassive” Sagittarius A* black hole — is expected to make the announcement and release the image April 10 in Brussels. A press release is touting “a groundbreaking result from the EHT.” The science press is interpreting that to mean the long-awaited image of a black hole.

“I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime,” said Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge. “We’re seeing the most extreme conditions in nature. A place where space and time are torn apart. It’s almost a mythical region.”

McDowell said the expectation is that there will be evidence that light bends the closer it gets to a black hole.

“If you see those features, it is proof that Einstein is right again in a very slam dunk kind of way,” McDowell said. “It’s a mic drop for Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.”

“It’s a huge deal,” McDowell said. “We’ll be seeing where the action is happening.”

Black holes are the theorized — but never seen — objects at the center of galaxies, so dense that not even light can escape, which makes them invisible.

The “event horizon” is the last point at which light, dust and other debris can be observed before it is sucked into the black hole, and that is what the EHT telescope array has been aimed at — possibly showing the theorized bending of light that would provide visual proof of relativity. wrote: “For years, the Event Horizon Telescope has been staring into the heart of the Milky Way, trying to obtain a photo of the location of Sagittarius A*, our galaxy’s central supermassive black hole … Telescopes around the world turned their combined might to the task, generating so much data that the only way to transport it all was on hard disks sent on planes. And then researchers had to sort through and analyse those data.”

An article noted: “Images of black holes have been circulating for years … All of those pictures are artistic representations based, sometimes loosely, on theories about what physics tells us a black hole should look like. So, we have a pretty good idea of what a black hole might look like. The reality, however, is that we don’t actually have any confirmation."

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