Scientists have hinted that they may have ever captured the first image of a black hole in the Milky Way.
International astronomers observe two primary targets, including Sagittarius A *, in the middle of the Milky Way, and M87 in the Maagden cluster of galaxies.
Observations on these black holes were performed by a project called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a series of telescopes that together have the size of the earth.
Astronomers now claiming & # 39; spectacular & # 39; recorded data during observations, including possibly the very first image of the silhouette of a black hole.
The image of the object would be & # 39; one of the most iconic & # 39; those scientists have ever made, researchers say.
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Scientists have hinted that they may have ever captured the first image of a black hole in the Milky Way. International astronomers observe two primary targets, including Sagittarius A *, in the middle of the Milky Way, and M87 in the Maagden cluster of galaxies (stock image)
The EHT collaboration is analyzing the results of the first full data round of 2017, which is expected to be unveiled in the course of this year.
A senior scientist on the project let the Guardian know that it could contain the groundbreaking image, but could not comment further when he spoke with MailOnline.
If the researchers were successful in obtaining a picture, this would be one of the most important breakthroughs in the past 50 years of astronomy.
Sera Markoff, a professor of theoretical astrophysics and astroparticle physics at the University of Amsterdam, is co-leader of the MultiWavelength Working Group of EHT.
& # 39; If the project succeeds in making an image of a black hole, it would really be a big problem for the areas of physics and astrophysics. Scientists have been working on this goal for more than 20 years, "she told MailOnline.
As for all scientific results – with regard to Sagittarius A * data – they must first go through the peer review process before they are released.
Professor Markoff said that she could not confirm whether the observations had produced the first direct image of the silhouette of a black hole.
& # 39; Seeing these black holes in the sky is the equivalent of looking at the head of a pin in New York from where I am sitting in Amsterdam & # 39 ;, said Professor Markoff to Mail Online.
The EHT collaboration is analyzing the results of the first full run in 2017 and is expected to be unveiled this year. If the researchers were successful in obtaining a photo, this would be an important breakthrough of the past 50 years of astronomy (stock image)
We have managed to obtain very high-quality data with the very high resolutions needed to observe the shadow, if it is really there, "said Professor Markoff to The Guardian.
Professor Peter Galison, who also works on the project, says that if the project were successful, the image would be the most iconic images of science & # 39; will be.
The image would be one of the most significant in the past 50 years of astronomy, & # 39; said Professor Galison, who is based on the department of the history of science at the University of Harvard.
So far, no black hole has ever been observed. The main obstacle is that they are so compact that a telescope as large as the earth would be needed to get a picture of the closest to our planet.
From a theoretical point of view, scientists already have a very good idea of what it should look like, the earliest predictions of shape and size were actually done in the 1970s. Professor Markoff said that Interstellar is very & # 39; ideal & # 39; but it is not far from what we expect. Pictured, a still from the film
More recently, scientists have made complex simulations, both within the EHT collaboration and in the field, using supercomputers to predict what a black hole would look like. Here a silence of Interstellar
The Event Horizon Telescope, an international collaboration, makes between 15 and 20 telescopic dishes around the world to observe black holes together.
The telescopes must all be directed towards the black hole and measure radio waves, which are stored on banks of hard disks.
Each telescope is observed individually from each area, across the South Pole, Europe, South America, Africa, North America and Australia.
The collected radio wave data is then stored together on a supercomputer.
Professor Markoff said that the film Interstellar is idealized & # 39; venison of a black, but it is not far from what they would expect to see.
In addition to providing insight into how black holes look, the telescope data can provide fascinating insights into how they work.
The Event Horizon Telescope, an international collaboration, uses about 15-20 telescopic dishes around the world that collectively detect black holes. The telescopes must all be directed towards the black hole and measure radio waves. Pictured, one in Greenland
WHAT ARE BLACK HOLES?
Black holes are so dense and their gravity is so strong that no form of radiation can escape – even no light.
They act as intense sources of gravity that suck up dust and gas around them.
Their intense gravity is supposed to be what stars in galaxies revolve around.
How they are formed is still poorly understood.
Supermassive black holes are incredibly dense areas in the center of galaxies with masses that can be billions of times that of the sun. They cause dips in space-time (artist & # 39; s impression) and even light can not escape their attraction
Astronomers believe that they can form as a large gas cloud up to 100,000 times larger than the sun plunges into a black hole.
Many of these black hole seeds then merge into much larger supermassive black holes, which are located in the center of each known huge galaxy.
Alternatively, a super-heavy black hole seed can come from a giant star, about 100 times the mass of the sun, which eventually turns into a black hole when it runs out of fuel and collapses.
When these gigantic stars die, they also go to & # 39; supernova & # 39 ;, a huge explosion that drives the matter of the outer layers of the star into the deep space.
As with many projects starting with prototypes, the EHT team had to continually test and upgrade the system, starting with combining only a few telescopes and eventually building the entire array of terrestrial size.
& # 39; The greater the distance between the telescopes, the more details you see, & # 39; said Professor Markoff.
From a theoretical point of view, scientists already have a very good idea of what it should look like, the earliest predictions of shape and size were actually done in the 1970s.
More recently, scientists have made complex simulations, both within the EHT collaboration and in the field, using supercomputers to predict what a black hole would look like.
WHAT IS THE SUPER-MASSIVE BLACK HOLE SAGITTARIUS A *
The Galactic center of the Milky Way is dominated by one resident, the super heavy black hole known as Sagittarius A * (Sgr A *).
Supermassive black holes are incredibly dense areas in the center of galaxies with masses that can be billions of times that of the sun.
They act as intense sources of gravity that suck up dust and gas around them.
The evidence of a black hole in the center of our galaxy was first presented by physicist Karl Jansky in 1931 when he discovered radio waves coming from the region.
Sgr A *, ideally still invisible, has the mass that corresponds to about four million suns.
In just 26,000 light years of the earth, Sgr A * is one of the few black holes in the universe where we can actually observe the flow of matter in the neighborhood.
Less than one percent of the material that initially falls within the gravitational influence of the black hole reaches the event horizon, or point of no return, because much of it is ejected.
Consequently, the X-ray emission of material near Sgr A * is remarkably weak, like that of most of the giant black holes in galaxies in the near universe.
The captured material must lose heat and angular momentum before it can dive into the black hole. The ejection of matter causes this loss to occur.