ITS dark heart sucks all light and life within reach into an unknown dimension at unimaginable speed… but enough about Brexit – look at this first ever picture of a black hole!
The groundbreaking snap was captured by space scientists using telescopes across the planet in a find that experts have boasted is “a huge breakthrough for humanity”.
EHT Collaboration This is the first ever picture of a black hole
The black hole, described by scientists as a “monster”, is 24billion miles across – 3million times the size of the Earth.
Sitting about 300 million trillion miles away from our planet, it was photographed by a network of eight telescopes across the globe known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).
When used together, the telescopes combine with the power of a single telescope “the size of our planet”, scientists said.
The black hole is so far away, that taking a photo of it is equivalent to snapping a DVD on the surface of the moon.
Scientists unveiled the photo at a big press event in Brussels
The EHT spent 13 years attempting to photograph a black hole and its first results were presented at a conference in Brussels this afternoon.
“We have accomplished something many thought impossible by imaging the shadow of a black hole and it provides the strongest evidence to date that such evasive and enigmatic entities do indeed exist,” said EHT scientist Dr Ziri Younsi, from University College London.
“This observation lays the foundation for future studies of black holes and could play a crucial role in our understanding of the behaviour of light and matter in the most extreme environments in our Universe.”
Current theories suggest that black holes are invisible because they have a gravitational pull so strong that they suck in light.
But this makes the area of space around them relatively easy to pick out, with a black circle shaped void in the middle.
What is a black hole? Black holes are mysterious and terrifying – and we’ve got a simple guide to how they work…
A black hole is a region of space where absolutely nothing can escape.
That’s because they have extremely strong gravitational effects, which means once something goes into a black hole, it can’t come back out.
They get their name because even light can’t escape once it’s been sucked in – which is why a black hole is completely dark.
Most black holes are made when a supergiant star dies.
This happens when stars run out of fuel – like hydrogen – to burn, causing the star to collapse.
When this happens, gravity pulls the centre of the star inwards quickly, and collapses into a tiny ball.
It expands and contracts until one final collapse, causing part of the star to collapse inward thanks to gravity, and the rest of the star to explode outwards.
The remaining central ball is extremely dense, and if it’s especially dense, you get a black hole.
We don’t know for sure what happens when you enter a black hole. A popular theory is that objects become stretched out and lose all dimensional form, before disappearing completely. So don’t try it.
It is widely thought that every galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its centre, including our Milky Way.
The gargantuan black hole at our galaxy’s centre is called Sagittarius A*, and EHT has set its sites on this space object since 2006.
Black holes spin so fast that the cosmic material at their edges actually emits radiation, and the EHT’s radiotelescopes measured this radiation.
They also photographed the black hole at the centre of a nearby galaxy called Messier 87.
Across six simultaneous press conferences on Wednesday, scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration heralded their “groundbreaking result”.
They said the find is a “huge breakthrough for humanity” that is the “fundamental first step in understanding how nature works.”
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Are you excited to see a photograph of a black hole for the first time? Let us know in the comments…
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