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Thursday 11 Apr 2019 10.34 AM

Astronomers captures first ever image of a black hole

Astronomers, Black hole

Washington : Humanity has got its first glimpse of the cosmic place of no return: a black hole. And it's as hot, as violent and as beautiful as science fiction imagined. In a breakthrough that thrilled the world of astrophysics and stirred talk of a Nobel Prize, scientists on Wednesday released the first image ever made of a black hole, revealing a fiery doughnut-shaped object in a galaxy 53 million light-years from Earth.

"Science fiction has become science fact," University of Waterloo theoretical physicist Avery Broderick, one of the leaders of the research team of about 200 scientists from 20 countries, declared as the colorised orange-and-black picture was unveiled. The image, assembled from data gathered by eight radio telescopes around the world, shows light and gas swirling around the lip of a supermassive black hole, a monster of the universe whose existence was theorised by Einstein more than a century ago but confirmed only indirectly over the decades.

Supermassive black holes are situated at the center of most galaxies, including ours, and are so dense that nothing, not even light, can escape their gravitational pull. Light gets bent and twisted around by gravity in a bizarre funhouse effect as it gets sucked into the abyss along with superheated gas and dust.

The new image confirmed yet another piece of Einstein's general theory of relativity. Einstein even predicted the object's neatly symmetrical shape.We have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen and taken a picture of a black hole," announced Sheperd Doeleman of Harvard, leader of the project. Jessica Dempsey, another co-discoverer and deputy director of the East Asian Observatory in Hawaii, said the fiery circle reminded her of the flaming Eye of Sauron from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. PTI

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Thursday 11 Apr 2019 10.34 AM
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