The Event Horizon Telescope is working to be the first organization to photograph a black hole, specifically the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy. In 2017, the organization turned the entire Earth into a giant telescope to be able to photograph the black hole.
Even though they still haven't released the image, they have now published the first information gathered while they were trying to take the photograph.
Event Horizon Telescope
In 2017, the Event Horizon Telescope project turned the Earth into a telescope to take a picture of the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. Now those scientists have released data from previous observing periods. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project linked telescopes all over the world through the internet. In 2013, the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) joined the EHT, which let it capture higher-resolution images.
Researchers were able to observe regions near the event horizon of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way called Sagittarius A*. The observations were taken at a resolution of three Schwarzschild radii, which is about 36 million kilometers (22.3 million miles). This gave scientists an idea of what the event horizon actually looks like.
Lead author of the new study presenting the observations, Ru-Sen Lun from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy says that for the first time, scientists don't have to guess what an event horizon looks like. The findings were published in the journal Astrophysical Journal.
Researchers say that they have spent months studying the combined data of all the telescopes to see how the image of the event horizon could be degraded by detrimental effects such as turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere and random noise and other signals that come from the instruments on Earth.
First Image Of Black Hole
Besides just taking the first image of a black hole, the reason that researchers are photographing it is to prove Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity. They're hoping to obtain an image of the shadow of the black hole. This would prove that all information that comes across the black hole's event horizon is lost forever.
The reason for the long wait is that researchers have collected around 1 petabyte of data from the project. That's equal to 1,000,000 gigabytes of data that they have to sift through to make sure that everything adds up.