by Alan Davison | April 30, 2019 9:58 pm
Outerspace is undoubtedly one of the greatest mysteries that keeps people on the edge of their seats. Its vast blackness stretches further than we could ever imagine which makes finding out new things about it so interesting.
This past week astronomers excitedly released an incredible photo. The photo was that of a black hole.
Black holes have always been surrounded by a shroud of doubt. Do they really exist? Their existence to some people seems too crazy to wrap their heads around.
However, astronomers were finally able to capture one of these elusive phenomenons. Black holes are essentially part of Outerspace that have so much concentrated gravity centered in them, nothing can escape being pulled into their centers.
These massive holes basically suck in everything around it, continuously. This even includes light.
The black hole that is in this new image is from an elliptical galaxy named “Messier 87”. Messier 87 is over 50-million light-years away which makes the ability to capture this black hole even more fascinating.
This documented black hole is beyond gigantic. It is estimated to have the same mass as about 6.5 billion suns.
This figure certainly makes our head spin! Additionally, the black hole image that has been released shows a void that has some circular form to it and a ring of light on its outer boundaries.
But how was the image found?
The image was located through the collaborated efforts of over 200 scientists worldwide. They all teamed up with various observatories to focus on the same point within space.
In doing so, it basically created a colossal telescope that had the ability to collect data. The initial imaging of the black hole was collected back in April of 2017.
After a lot of patience, the data was transcribed into the image that was released almost a full two years after the date was collected. Lots of people agree, the wait was well worth it.
This revolutionary discovery really puts some concrete evidence behind the speculations of Outerspace having black holes at all.
Prior to the release of this image, everything that was brought to the table concerning black holes was only circumstantial evidence. For astronomers, this simply wasn’t good enough.
They were tired of only having possible sightings that included weird objects that were being orbited by stars and other objects throughout space.
The team of astronomers who have been studying black holes for so long is more than excited to have found the black hole. The ongoing efforts of their studies have certainly paid off.
In relation to the image that released, the astronomers also presented a lengthy set of papers, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, that explain a bit more about their findings of the black hole.
Astronomers state in these new papers that the image provides crucial data for measuring the size of the black hole. It really has provided a better view for them to determine just how much mass is within the black hole.
Additionally. it also shows them data pertaining to the black hole’s ability to actually release larger-than-life particles that get propelled through space.
So not only can black holes take in everything around it, it potentially can release items as well. This furthers upon the concept of black holes being truly remarkable in the world of Outerspace studies.
While this data is certainly important, studying the pictures that were released can be done even closer.
From the image, astronomers have also deduced that the black hole sits right in the middle of the M87 (Messier 87) galaxy which has over 7 trillion stars within its realms.
More incredibly, this section of the universe is said to have over 15,000 globular star clusters (densely packed stars that are considered ancient in age).
To really put this into perspective, our galaxy, The Milky Way, only has 150 globular star clusters with around a few hundred billion stars.
Why is this important? Well, the massiveness of the M87 galaxy seems able to withstand the forces that are behind the giant black hole.
Astronomers speculate that The Milky Way wouldn’t be able to maintain or withstand such a black hole at that much mass.
The black hole that has been discovered in M87’s galaxy was discovered by the collective team of scientists that are specifically working in a program called “The Event Horizon Telescope“.
This project is the base behind all of the observatories operating collectively to obtain imaging from further away places.
Initially, this project was on course to capture images of a black hole that is with The Milky Way, named Sagittarius A.
This particular black hole only has a mass of 4 million suns which is substantially smaller than the one that was found in M87’s galaxy.
During their efforts to center in on Sagittarius A, scientists decided to check out M87’s galaxy since it is sort of close to The Milky Way.
That is when they struck gold in capturing this imagery.
Through the efforts of scientists worldwide, the images found of the black hole in M87 were layered together to act as one giant telescope. This is pretty incredible technology in the grand scheme of things.
The various radio telescopes were zoned in on M87 from Mexico, Spain, Arizona, Chile, and Hawaii. These specific areas in the world were used because they are considered the best areas to gain a good vantage point of M87.
During this project, it is estimated that they had gathered somewhere around 5 petabytes of data.
This is comparable to 5,000 terabytes which is quite a substitanial amount. It is important to note that all of that data wasn’t just from M87’s black hole.
It did include other pieces of data that were gathered along the way. Regardless, the team had plenty to examine.
The incredible work behind this project has given the world one of the most interesting views of the first actual documented black holes.
With continued research, it is certainly possible to capture other ones that might be out in the universe!
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