First-Ever Photo of a Black Hole Will Be Made Public Soon

Black Hole/NASA/Public Domain


The Event Horizon Telescope promises to bring humanity our first look at a black hole event horizon.

According to Science Alert, the team behind the Event Horizon Telescope has released a statement that they will announce “groundbreaking” results on Wednesday, April 10th. The EHT has been focused on Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. This would be the first telescopic image of a black hole.

The problem with black holes has historically been their invisibility. Due to the immense gravitational pull that they exert, traditional methods of measurement, such as X-rays, light, and radio waves, fail to provide clarity. A chance does still exist, however, that the event horizon might be photographed, presenting the astronomy community with an interesting potential new source of information about the bodies.

The astrophysicist Jean-Pierre Luminet provided the first potential images of what a black hole could look like using a punch-card computer in 1978. Because the gravitational pull of the object is so large, light bends around it and “reveals” the rear part of the disk. A secondary image is even formed from where the light curves from the opposite side of the black hole.

Since then we have seen many depictions of a black hole, including in the 2014 movie Interstellar, which was praised as having a more accurate vision, created in consultation with Luminet and Caltech professor Kip Thorne.

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