Astronomers May Soon Acquire the First Actual Image Of A Black Hole

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Astronomers have long been studying black holes present at the center of galaxies. Scientists have also gathered a large amount of information about them, but no real picture of a black hole has yet been captured.

Sophisticated telescopes and instruments have helped scientists to capture images of the sun, asteroids and surface of other planets and moons, but all available pictures of black holes are just predictions of the artists.

Black holes are an extremely dark object. These are large objects and they consume anything that comes across their horizon including light. So, it is difficult to obtain the photographs of these objects. A new telescope network which will start in April could change the existing scenario and can provide the glimpse of what the black hole looks like in reality.

Sagittarius A*

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) will make an efforts to acquire the first image of a black hole and its event horizon. The telescope will target Sagittarius A*, the large black hole present at the center of the Milky Way. Sagittarius A* is comparatively small having a diameter 20 million kilometers approximately.

Event Horizon Telescope

EHT, a group of several radio telescopes which are linked to each other, will collect data for 10 days, but the actual photograph of a black hole would not be available until 2018.

Telescopes, which are equipped with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), are linked together so that they can act like one big scope having the size of Earth. With the help of Very Long Baseline Interferometry or VLBI, scientists can gather and combine data from various telescopes scattered around the world in a way which will display the black hole with the help of this giant telescope.

Chirp

The previous year, scientists showed that because of big gaps in data due to the limited number of telescopes and use of radio wavelengths, which do not produce appropriate images, there is a need to use the algorithm called Chirp.

Chirp would mathematically raise the radio waves and remove unwanted data like atmospheric noise to produce a more accurate image of the black hole.

What black hole will look like

The EHT plans to view the environment surrounding the black hole, but researchers hope that it would have enough resolution to view the black hole itself. Scientists claim that the black hole will look like a bright ring of light which surrounds a dark blob.

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