The Supermassive Blackhole in M87

A couple of days ago, a picture of a black hole’s silhouette taken by the Event Horizon Telescope (ETH) was unveiled. The black hole is at the center of the galaxy Messier 87 which is around 55 million light years from earth. The black hole is huge — around 7 billion times the mass of the sun.

The National Geographic reports:

The new image is the stunning achievement of the Event Horizon Telescope project, a global collaboration of more than 200 scientists using an array of observatories scattered around the world, from Hawaii to the South Pole. Combined, this array acts like a telescope the size of Earth, and it was able to collect more than a petabyte of data while staring at M87’s black hole in April 2017. It then took two years for scientists to assemble the mugshot.

It also includes a video on “Black Hole 101“.

That’s brief. For a more detailed explanation, I recommend the video published by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) on Apr 10, 2019. The video description says,

“The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of a black hole. In coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers revealed that they succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.

This 17-minute film explores the efforts that led to this historic image, from the science of Einstein and Schwarzschild to the struggles and successes of the EHT collaboration.

We live in exciting times.

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