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Science fact: Astronomers reveal first image of a black hole
Energy
Published in 10-4-2019
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WASHINGTON (AP) Scientists on Wednesday released the first image ever made of a black hole, revealing a fiery ring of gravity-twisted light swirling around the edge of the abyss.

The picture, assembled from data gathered by eight radio telescopes around the world, shows the hot, shadowy lip of a supermassive black hole, one of the light-sucking monsters of the universe theorized by Einstein more than a century ago and confirmed by observations for decades. It is along this edge that light bends around itself in a cosmic funhouse effect.

"We have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen and taken a picture of a black hole," Sheperd Doeleman of Harvard, leader of a team of about 200 scientists from 20 countries, announced as the colorized orange-and-black picture was unveiled.

University of Waterloo physicist Avery Broderick, a co-discoverer, declared: "Science fiction has become science fact."

In fact, Jessica Dempsey, a co-discoverer and deputy director of the East Asian Observatory in Hawaii, said the fiery circle reminded her of the flaming Eye of Sauron from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Unlike smaller black holes that come from collapsed stars, supermassive black holes are mysterious in origin. Situated at the center of most galaxies, including ours, they are so dense that nothing, not even light, can escape their gravitational pull. This one's "event horizon" the precipice, or point of no return, where light and matter begin to fall inexorably into the hole is as big as our entire solar system.

Three years ago, scientists using an extraordinarily sensitive observing system heard the sound of two much smaller black holes merging to create a gravitational wave, as Albert Einstein predicted. The new image, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters and announced around the world, adds...

Reference: www.chron.com