The first image of a black hole: A three minute guide

The first image of a black hole: A three minute guide

This is the first direct image ever taken of a black hole, courtesy of the Event Horizon Telescope. Creating this image required more data than any other scientific experiment in history. So how did they do it? Up until now most measurements of black holes were indirect, like this time lapse of stars at the centre of our galaxy. The stars seem to be orbiting around something… something with a humongous gravitational pull. Scientists predicted that thing was a black hole. Astronomers have also seen massive jets of matter emanating from the centres of galaxies, sometimes much larger than the galaxies themselves. They predict that the only thing powerful enough to create them would be black holes. The gravitational waves detected by LIGO in 2015 were the most direct and compelling evidence for black holes to date. But detecting gravitational waves is sort of like hearing a black hole. Scientists still wanted to see it. But how do you take a picture of a black object against a black background? The answer: back light it. Matter should emit radiation as it heats up while circling the edge of a black hole, the event horizon. With a big enough telescope scientists should be able to use that radiation as a backdrop to see the silhouette of the black hole itself. But it’s tricky. Even though the black hole is gigantic and has galactic scale impacts, it is so far away, to get an image of high enough resolution, scientists calculated they’d need a telescope the size of the Earth, which is obviously impossible. Enter the Event Horizon Telescope, which is not in fact one telescope, but a network of eight observatories spread around the world from Hawaii to Antarctica. Each observatory provides a tiny piece of the puzzle. Take repeated readings as the Earth spins, and you can capture more angles from each telescope. Once you have enough pieces of the puzzle, algorithms can fill in the gaps and build up the whole picture. This process is called interferometry. The observations used to create this image were made over a few nights in 2017. Each night each observatory gathered the same amount of data as the Large Hadron Collider does in a year and it has taken two years to piece it all together. With this image, we can see a black hole for the first time. But it’s much more than images. It provides precise tests of the predictions of general relativity. And what’s more, beyond the event horizon is a place where physics as we know it no longer works. This is the first direct image ever taken of a black hole but coded in its pixels could be the answers to questions about the whole universe.

100 thoughts on “The first image of a black hole: A three minute guide

  1. Its Really pretty big deal bcoz 10th april is the date of my birth and today i realised that im so lucky .
    10 april 2019 my birthday and blackhole first real picture birthdate .

  2. More data than any other scientific experiment, you say? I thought the LIGO experiment to detect gravity waves was more data- hungry

  3. What blows my fkn mind that we have a picture of something that may have evaporated millions of years ago. But we’re only seeing it now cause it’s so far

  4. Such large sparse baseline interferometry is quite impressive but the process of tweaking the processing looked rather fleeting as the images changed rather substantially. How certain is this rendition? is it possible it doesn't look like that at all? that it's just a few sine lobes tweaked to give the result they were looking for.
    A few images in sequence showing the noise and change would be more convincing.

  5. I didn't understand what the whole thing was about, but you've explained it very well. Thanks for that!

  6. How did they do it!? Simple…good CGI technology.

    Oh, the script that these "paid" stooges are reading "sounds" believable to a SUCKER 😂😁😃. I rest 😆

  7. Pause this at .06 seconds…….does anyone else see two people looking at them from behind those glasses?

  8. Lol, "creating this image…" . Say it again. "CREATING this image…" . Maybe they CREATED it because black holes are science fiction?

  9. This guy is a slob. You would think he would comb has hair, shave and put on a shirt with a tie. I suppose that is just too much to ask in this day in age.

  10. Please no stupid music next time. And no human face, i don't need it either. And you… to be honest… doesn't have to talk at all. Just show text. Slowly… more slowly…. very very slowly… and by slowly i mean fucking slow… because i cannot understand what you are talking about. The only words i hear are the word "black" and the word "hole" and the word "discovered".

  11. At the very heart of a black hole in a spiral galaxy is a massive, densely packed region of material called by farmers and ranchers as–"bullshit."

  12. Me as a nonprofesional astronomer, this makes me excited to think that during my lifetime I can get some very important answers before my death. It will be awesome if they can understand the black holes 100%

  13. Stephen hawking died just few months ago, I bet that for him this would have been the most important moment of his life.

  14. This is the first look at what will kill all life in existence…Is that really something to be happy about??

  15. I was staggered when I heard that the telescopes take as much data in a single night as the LHC does in an entire year. That's really incredible, almost too incredible to be true. Does anyone know if that statement is actually correct, or how much data one of these telescopes actually records?

  16. I'm not scientifically incline. But if the black hole is 55 million light years away.
    How could we have a telescope that can capture the image of 55 million light years away.

  17. The other side of a Black Hole is a White Hole or another universe. Black Holes are also used for travel for highly advanced beings from other galaxies and dimensions.

  18. These scam artist, so called scientist can upload any bullshit aka photo(s) and most of you sheeples will eat it up as the truth. They need their grant money so bingo bango, WE'VE PHOTOGRAPHED A BLACK HOLE thanks to Adobe photoshop and say, you should believe us because we're scientist and we know better. LMAO!!!!

    Fact is, they can upload absolutely anything and deem it accurate. There is NO SUCH THING AS A BLACK HOLE besides a wife and your wallet!

  19. Could it be that the black hole was in fact at some point a sun that died?…..The surrounding orbiting galaxies are still reflecting light from it that is only reaching them ‘now’, that is 55 million years ago in real time. This would create the illusion of a black hole

  20. I can not accept an algorithm as the first ever image of a black hole; I respect the teams effort and accomplishments, but I can not accept that a program/algorithm which was specifically written to design a black hole as an image is an actual black hole. Algorithms find ways to make what you ask it to make. And using an algorithm to put together an image from multiple sources is a fail in my book.

  21. इंतरफेरोमेतरी, ग्रेवीती, अस्तरोंनामि, तेलिस्कोप, देता, स्तार, प्रेदीक्त saale chutiye…can not even pronounce their own language

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