WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Scientists are expected to reveal on Wednesday the first photograph of a black hole, a breakthrough in astrophysics that provides information about celestial monsters with gravitational fields so intense that neither light nor light can escape.
FILE PHOTO: A supermbadive black hole with millions to billions of times the mbad of our sun is seen in a conceptual illustration of an undated NASA artist. REUTERS / NASA / JPL-Caltech / Brochure / Stock Photo
The US National Science Foundation UU He has scheduled a press conference in Washington to announce an "innovative result of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project", an international badociation formed in 2012 to try to directly observe the immediate environment of a black hole.
Simultaneous press conferences are scheduled in Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo.
The event horizon of a black hole, one of the most violent places in the universe, is the point of no return beyond which anything (stars, planets, gas, dust, all forms of electromagnetic radiation, including light) it is irremediably aspired.
Although the scientists involved in the investigation refused to disclose the findings before the formal announcement, they have clear objectives.
"It's a visionary project to take the first black hole photograph, we're a collaboration of more than 200 people internationally," said astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman, director of the Event Horizon Telescope at the Harvard Astrophysics Center and Smithsonian. a March event in Texas.
The press conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. (1300 GMT) on Wednesday.
The research will test a scientific pillar: the general relativity theory of physicist Albert Einstein, according to University of Arizona astrophysicist Dimitrios Psaltis, project scientist for the Horizon Telescope Event. That theory, presented in 1915, was intended to explain the laws of gravity and its relation to other natural forces.
SUPERMASIVE BLACK HOLES
The researchers pointed to two supermbadive black holes.
The first, called Sagittarius A *, is located in the center of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, which has 4 million times the mbad of our Sun and is located 26,000 light years from Earth. A light year is the distance that light travels in a year, 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion kilometers).
The second, called M87, resides in the center of the nearby Virgo galaxy A, with a mbad 3,500 million times greater than that of the Sun and located 54 million light-years away from Earth. Transmit away from M87 at almost the speed of light is a giant subatomic particle jet.
Black holes, which come in a variety of sizes, are extraordinarily dense entities that form when very mbadive stars collapse at the end of their life cycle. The supermbadive black holes are the largest, devour matter and radiation, and perhaps merge with other black holes.
Psaltis described a black hole as "an extreme deformation in space-time," a term that refers to the three dimensions of space and the unique dimension of time united in a single continuum of four dimensions.
Doeleman said the project's researchers obtained the first data in April of 2017 from a global network of telescopes. The telescopes that collected that initial data are in the states of Arizona and Hawaii, as well as in Mexico, Chile, Spain and Antarctica. Since then, telescopes have been added in France and Greenland to the network.
Scientists will also try to detect for the first time the dynamics near the black hole as matter orbits at speeds close to light before being swallowed up by oblivion.
The fact that black holes do not allow light to escape makes it difficult to see them. Scientists will look for a ring of light (radiation and matter circulating at a tremendous speed at the edge of the event's horizon) around a region of darkness that represents the real black hole. This is known as the shadow or silhouette of the black hole.
Einstein's theory, if correct, should allow for an extremely accurate prediction of the size and shape of a black hole.
"The shape of the shadow will be almost a perfect circle in Einstein's theory," said Psaltis. "If we find that it is different from what the theory predicts, then we go back to point one and say:" Clearly, something is not exactly right ".
Will Dunham report; Edited by Sandra Maler