The campaign to capture an image, in fact, the first ever image of a black hole has started. There is a system of radio telescopes around the world is peering at the gigantic black hole at the center of the Milky Way, a behemoth called Sagittarius A* ( Sgr A*) from April 5 to April 14  and that behemoth is  4 million times more massive than the sun. The researchers are in the hopes to get photograph Sgr A*’s event horizon which is called the “point of no return” beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape. (The interior of a black hole can never be imaged because light cannot make out) this behemoth is the strangest one in its category universally. Gopal Narayanan astronomy research professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst said, “These are the observations that will help us to sort through all the wild theories about black holes — and there are many wild theories” and he also then said, “With data from this project, we will understand things about black holes that we have never understood before.” There are now project, known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), links up observatories in Hawaii, Arizona, California, Mexico, Chile, Spain, and Antarctica to create the equivalent of a radio instrument the size of the entire Earth. Such a powerful tool is necessary to view the event horizon of  Sgr A*, which lies 26,000 light-years from our planet, the EHT team members have informed.  Professor Gopal Narayanan who is so closely tied to this entire affair said, “That’s like trying to image a grapefruit on the surface of the moon and during the current campaign, EHT is also eyeing the supermassive black hole at the core of the galaxy M87, which lies 53.5 million light-years from Earth. This monster black hole’s mass is about 6 billion times that of the sun, so its event horizon is larger than that of Sgr A*. ”

Such helpful information from people like Professor Narayanan and projects like the Event Horizon Telescope have helps astronomers determine the mass, spin and other characteristics of supermassive black holes with better precision. ETH also aim to learn more about how material accretes into disks around black holes, and the mechanics of the plasma jets that blast from these light-gobbling giants. And so it will give more information about the “information paradox”  which is a long-standing puzzle about whether information about the material gobbled up by black holes can be destroyed and other deep cosmological mysteries as well. The current observing  ETH campaign will be over soon but it will take a while for astronomers to piece together the images. For starters, as so much information will be collected by the participating telescopes around the world that it will be physically flown, rather than transmitted, to the central processing facility at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Haystack Observatory.

Then, they will have to calibrate the entire data to account for different weather, atmospheric and other conditions at the various sites. The first few results from this campaign are likely going to be published next year, EHT team members said.

 

 

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