tech2 News StaffApr 10, 2019 20:03:01 IST
The European Southern Observatory revealed earlier this week that a big announcement was on the way. An international team of astronomers and engineers working on the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project are seeding news publications for what ScienceAlert reports could be the first-ever photo of a black hole’s event horizon.
If true, the ESO's 10 April event will be a monumental one for science — the first glimpse of the single most fantastic, epic and mysterious object in the known universe (possibly only competing with that other dark enigma, dark matter)
The Event Horizon telescope
Black holes are points in space that have a gravitational pull so strong, not even light can escape from it. Legendary physicist Albert Einstein spent the better half of his life trying to prove his own prediction that black holes exist.
Since then, 103 years have passed, and we still haven't seen what a black hole really looks like. Enter, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a project that promises to change that.
The EHT is a network of many ground-based radio observatories or radio telescope facilities around the world coordinated to produce a single, high-sensitivity, high-resolution telescope. Astronomers have been using it since 2006 to peer into Sagittarius A* — a monster black hole at the centre of our galaxy.
Also check out: Stunning images of black holes that we've never actually "seen"
Why is photographing a black hole not easy?
Sagittarius A* is the closest supermassive black hole to Earth. It is thought to be located at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. The goal with Sagittarius A* is to look past the space debris around it to catch a glimpse of its event horizon — the point at the "edge" of a black hole at which matter and light (and spaceships, in the case of sci-fi films) can no longer escape the pull of a black hole.
While we share a home galaxy with it, the (fortunate) distance separating us from Sagittarius A* is a huge stretch for modern telescopes to overcome. Other, smaller black holes that are much closer have been proposed by astronomers, but much like Sagittarius A*, still remain problematic to spot, let alone photograph.
Perhaps the EHT project is going to tell us otherwise — that it has been 103 years, but they've finally cracked it.
When and where to watch the big reveal live
The discovery made by the EHT team will be streamed live Wednesday evening (10 April) in a press conference starting 9 am EDT (6.30 pm IST).
You can catch a live stream here through the stream embedded below, courtesy of the National Science Foundation, or directly on the NSF's website.
Black hole event horizon: Also read
- This is the first image of a black hole captured using a global network of telescopes
- First-ever direct photograph of black hole M87 event horizon revealed
- Stunning images of black holes we’ve never actually seen
- First image of black hole helps confirm Einstein's general relativity theory
- Could rotating black holes be gentle portals for hyperspace travel in the future?
Tech2 is now on WhatsApp. For all the buzz on the latest tech and science, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Tech2.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.