Astronomers Release First Ever Image Of Black Hole

Anyone can post and discuss breaking science news or science-related public policy, that interests them (please respect posting guidelines and be sure to reference properly).
Forum rules
Please be sure to check our forum's Rules & Guidelines

Astronomers Release First Ever Image Of Black Hole

Postby toucana on April 10th, 2019, 9:20 am 

Black_hole.jpg
First ever image of a black hole

Astronomers have taken the first ever image of a black hole, which is located in a distant galaxy.

It measures 40 billion km across - three million times the size of the Earth - and has been described by scientists as "a monster".

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47873592

The black hole is 500 million trillion km away and was photographed by a network of eight telescopes across the world. Details have been published today in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Prof Heino Falcke, of Radboud University in the Netherlands, who proposed the experiment, told BBC News that the black hole was found in a galaxy called M87 which is a supergiant elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo. It is one of the most massive galaxies in the local Universe.
What we see is larger than the size of our entire Solar System," he said.
It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exist. It is an absolute monster, the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe."
User avatar
toucana
Chatroom Operator
 
Posts: 1360
Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Location: Bristol UK
Blog: View Blog (10)


Re: Astronomers Release First Ever Image Of Black Hole

Postby TheVat on April 10th, 2019, 10:18 am 

Due to its resemblance to an out-of-focus glazed doughnut, I'm a bit skeptical. And peckish.
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7062
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Astronomers Release First Ever Image Of Black Hole

Postby toucana on April 10th, 2019, 11:50 am 

Glaze.png

There we go Homer. I managed to to enhance the focus a bit.

Any better ?
User avatar
toucana
Chatroom Operator
 
Posts: 1360
Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Location: Bristol UK
Blog: View Blog (10)


Re: Astronomers Release First Ever Image Of Black Hole

Postby TheVat on April 10th, 2019, 12:55 pm 

Mmmmm....

From the Washington Post article today....


The image had its origins over the course of a week in April 2017, when EHT astronomers on four continents coordinated their efforts to make observations of the supermassive black hole. The two targeted black holes — in the center of the Milky Way and in M87 — are roughly the same apparent size when seen from Earth, because although the M87 black hole is much larger, it’s also much farther away.

To perform the observation, the astronomers battled bad weather and glitchy electric grids. They donned oxygen tanks and climbed three-mile-high mountains to escape the interference of Earth’s atmosphere. Then they spent the two years parsing literal truckloads of data, some of which had to be shipped on hard drives from the South Pole and defrosted outside a supercomputer facility at MIT. Finally, they tested their findings against the results of a million simulations of what a black hole might look like, until at last they spotted a match.

“It’s truly remarkable. It’s almost humbling in a certain way,” said Doeleman, director of the EHT, after explaining how observatories across the planet were used to create a single instrument in effect.a



The amount of data collected by the radio telescopes is equal to the “entire selfie collection over a lifetime for 40,000 people,” Marrone said.

Sagittarius A*, at the center of the Milky Way, and M87 were the two most promising targets for such a project. The former is close (in cosmic terms), and the latter is humongous, giving scientists a decent shot at capturing them.

Even so, both are so distant they would appear to Earthlings as a doughnut on the moon. To see them in any kind of detail, scientists would need a telescope as big as the planet — and, of course, no such thing existed.

So in the mid-2000s, scientists began to MacGyver a telescope out of previously existing infrastructure, linking up instruments around the world to collect scores of observations, each from a slightly different perspective.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/ ... 897d8f7d6e
User avatar
TheVat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 7062
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Astronomers Release First Ever Image Of Black Hole

Postby Serpent on April 10th, 2019, 12:56 pm 

That's even scarier!

ETA
I meant the doughnut, not the info. Telescopes are cool.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3459
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Astronomers Release First Ever Image Of Black Hole

Postby toucana on April 11th, 2019, 1:18 am 

Bouman2.jpg
Katie Bouman - The famous image

The image has been variously described as looking like 'The Eye of Sauron', or a 'Blurry Bagel'. But one aspect of this story overlooked at first by many news sources was the contribution of image processing specialist Katie Bouman who led a team of four computer scientists based at Harvard, and who wrote the key algorithms used in producing the historic image.

http://time.com/5568063/katie-bouman-first-image-black-hole/

Bouman, whose expertise is not in astrophysics but computer science, was one of a small group of people who spent years developing and testing those methods.

Though her work developing algorithms was crucial to the project, she sees her real contribution as bringing a way of thinking to the table.
“What I did was brought the culture of testing ourselves,” she says. The project combined experts from all sorts of scientific backgrounds, ranging from physicists to mathematicians, and she saw the work through the lens of computer science, stressing the importance of running tests on synthetic data and making sure that the methods they used to make the image kept human bias out of the equation.

“Traditionally the way you make images in radio astronomy is you actually have a human there who is kind of guiding the imaging methods in the direction they think they should go,” Bouman explains. “And for data like this, that is so sparse, so noisy, where it’s so hard to try to find an image, that was a dangerous game to play."

Her focus was on making sure the methods they used would show an image of precisely what was at the center of the M87 Galaxy, not just what the team hoped would be there.

Happily, it turned out that those were one and the same. Bouman recalls feeling complete disbelief when her team ran their first tests and saw the ring appear. “Even though we had worked on this for years, I don’t think any of us expected we would get a ring that easily,” she says. “We just expected a blob.”
User avatar
toucana
Chatroom Operator
 
Posts: 1360
Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Location: Bristol UK
Blog: View Blog (10)



Return to Science News Discussion Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests

cron