The first image of a black hole to debut next week

Christopher Davidson
April 5, 2019

Well, it's not an actual photo of "Sagittarius A*", the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy, the actual black hole is invisible thanks to its massive gravitational pull that's so strong, even light can't escape. BLACK HOLE HUNTERS premieres Friday, April 12 at 9 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole, and, although the concept has always been assumed to be fact, the Event Horizon Telescope's success would provide the first clear visual evidence of their existence.

Next week, the European Southern Observatory is going to make a big announcement, and no one is sure exactly what it's going to be.

According to the newspaper, this activity may have something to do with "a photograph that could break new ground in our understanding in space", as the Event Horizon Telescope has apparently managed to produce its "first result" in a quest to snap an image of the edge of a black hole. Regardless of the details, however, next Wednesday we'll nearly certainly be seeing something no human has ever seen before.

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Smithsonian Channel is to follow a team of global scientists as they attempt to capture the first image ever of a black hole. The nearest supermassive black hole to Earth is thought to be situated at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, but that's a long, long stretch for modern telescope technology. The observatories around the world focus on the locations of the black hole and individually capture the radio signals emitted by the "event horizon". While we can understand them because of the way they affect the space that surrounds them, they cannot actually be directly seen. Other press events will be held in Chile, Shanghai, Japan, Taipei, and the United States of America, each in their local languages. Gas falling toward the black hole heats up by billions of degrees, illuminating a silhouette of where the black hole is located.

The event will be streamed online by the ESO as well as the European Research Council, as well as on social media.

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