Watch Event Horizon Telescope Announcement Live Online

Christopher Davidson
April 10, 2019

Press conferences are scheduled to be held simultaneously in Brussels (in English), Lyngby (in Danish), Santiago (in Spanish), Shanghai (in Mandarin), Tokyo (in Japanese), Taipei (in Mandarin), and Washington D.C.

The researchers have targeted two supermassive black holes.

While scientists involved in the research declined to disclose the findings ahead of the formal announcement, they are clear about their goals.

Why have we not been been able to see a black hole until now?

There is so much data being collected that the image we will see on Wednesday was actually created back in 2017.

EHT team members haven't revealed what the result is, but an NSF media advisory described it as "groundbreaking". That theory, put forward in 1915, was meant to explain the laws of gravity and their relation to other natural forces.

Einstein's theory allows for a prediction of the size and shape of a black hole. The Sagittarius A* is situated at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy, possessing mass four million times the mass of our sun and located 26,000 light years from Earth. A light year is the distance light travels in a year, 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km).

According to U.S. space agency NASA, the black hole weighs in at four million times the mass of our Sun. Streaming away from M87 at almost the speed of light is a gigantic jet of subatomic particles.

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The first are garden-variety black holes that form when the centre of a very big star collapses in on itself, creating a supernova. The vague idea of a black hole - meaning, a singularity so dense and so massive that its escape velocity is greater than the speed of light - was first theorized by English scientist John Michell in the 18th century, and later developed further by Albert Einstein in the 20th century in his General Theory of Relativity.

Sagittarius A* is our closest black hole, but "closest" is a relative term.

The collaboration, called EHT, is a global network of telescopes that has been attempting to capture the first photograph of a black hole ever. "For the first time, the Event Horizon Telescope combines sufficient millimeter observatories at large enough separation to get image the silhouette of the black holes in the Milky Way (SgrA*) and M87".

The new observations will be used to detect evidence of what happens at the edge, or shadow, of a black hole.

It's a historic day for astronomy, and perhaps the beginning of a new chapter in how we understand the universe and the fundamental laws of physics.

Instead, scientists are aiming for images of the event horizon, the precipice of the black hole known as the "point of no return", and the gas and dust that settles into orbit around the hole, according to Science News.

Countless theories, calculations, and estimations have been made about black holes, leading science to suspect a jet black "pit" of sorts with gravitational pull so intense that nothing can escape it.

The scientists said the shape of the shadow would be nearly a flawless circle in Einstein's theory of general relativity, and if it turns out that it is not, there is something wrong with the theory.

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