The black Hole

Predicted a century ago by Albert Einstein, black holes have so far been mysterious cosmic objects, but now things could change: being able to photograph them means not only having direct evidence of their existence, but being able to observe what happens when matter approaches to such an extreme environment, where the force of gravity is enormous.

In fact, a black hole is defined as a region of space-time with a gravitational field so intense that nothing inside can escape from the outside, not even light. The idea of ​​the existence of these objects is a corollary of Einstein’s theory of general relativity: since the force of gravity, which depends on the mass of the objects, deforms space-time and also curves the trajectory of light, a body can reach a concentration of the mass so large that its gravitational field also prevents light from moving away. The primary formation process for black holes is thought to be the gravitational collapse of heavy objects such as stars.

It was a distant echo, but sufficient to put an end to long years of scientific discussions and debates about the existence or not of black holes. Although they have long been ‚invisible‘, many research groups have developed hypotheses about their behavior. In 1974, for example, Stephen Hawking had predicted that black holes gradually lose mass and energy until they vanish into thin air as if they ‚evaporated‘. Many years later it was predicted that the black hole located in the center of the Milky Way, called Sagittarius A, could collide and merge with what is located in the center of the nearest galaxy, Andromeda.

Exactly 100 years have passed since the first image that revolutionized modern physics even in the eyes of the general public. The one taken during the solar eclipse of May 29, 1919 gave the world proof that Einstein’s theory of general relativity was correct. On Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington’s film, stars appeared in a different position from the one they were supposed to occupy: it was proof that the Sun’s gravitational field is capable of bending even light, a fundamental prediction of the theory of Relativity.

The mass of the black hole is almost seven billion times that of our star, the diameter 40 billion kilometers, over 260 times the Earth-Sun distance, enough to contain the entire Solar System. As a result, its event horizon is very extensive and for this reason it has been chosen as one of the objectives of the Eht project. It is very distant, but so massive as to appear large, observing it from Earth, like the one in the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A, which is less than 25 thousand light years and which weighs ‚just‘ a few million suns. Unlike Sag. A, it is a quasar, a very active black hole, devours gas and projects jets of matter at speeds close to those of light. And it is precisely thanks to this radiation that we can observe black holes millions or billions of light years away.

To observe an object so far and relatively small in size it is not enough to point a telescope, you need many more, distant from each other. A total of eight to thousands of kilometers from each other, from the Chilean Andes to Hawaii, from Mexico to Spain, from the USA to Antarctica, which simultaneously point towards the same corner of the cosmos. All together it is as if they formed a single, gigantic, parabola, almost as big as the entire planet Earth. The technique used is that of „very long-based interferometry“.

The different radio telescopes are synchronized with an atomic clock and the data obtained by each have been combined through algorithms that scientists took years to develop and then to run. The estimated angular resolution is 20 arc seconds: enough to „read a copy of the New York Times on the Moon while sitting in a Paris cafe“.

Each telescope has collected thousands of Terabytes of data, too heavy to be sent over the Internet. The hard drives traveled by plane to the two computer centers where the supercomputers are located: at the Mit’s Haystack Observatory, in Massachusetts, and the other at the Max Planck Institut fur Radioastronomie, in Bonn. Two years after the observation, which lasted just ten days in total, the researchers managed to put together all the pieces and compose the photo taken not with visible light, but using radio wave frequencies. Those that most easily manage to evade the gas curtain that surrounds the galaxy and reach us.



12 Kommentare

  1. This term defines a hypothetical (the theory of spaghetification is still to be concretized, since one does not have the certainty of what really happens in a black hole) effect that occurs when an object is falling towards the center of a black hole.


  2. Marco, even though it is not a hole like we think of one, where a hole has an ending, what do you think would happen if a black hole collapsed in on itself? Would it disappear from space altogether?


  3. Nothing can get out of a black hole. But what’s going on in there? This is the question that deserves an answer.❤️


  4. Marco, I find the black hole concept to be interesting. I also know that it is not a literal hole, seeing as a hole has to end somehow. However, what do you think would happen if a black hole collapsed in on itself? Would it vanish completely? Would it be reborn?


  5. Your theory is very interesting …❤️
    Statistics say that the supernovae in our Galaxy should be a hundred in each year, yet they have not been seen for centuries. The last one, in 1987, took place in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The reason lies in the shape of the Galaxy and in the dark clouds that hide a large part of the sky from us. Presumably, many supernovae exploded behind these clouds. We can only try to predict which stars will sooner or later explode, even if we don’t know when. To date, good suspects are Eta Carinae and Betelgeuse.😅


  6. I know that stellar black holes are made when the center of a very big star falls in upon itself, or collapses. When this happens, it causes a supernova. A supernova is an exploding star that blasts part of the star into space. Scientists think supermassive black holes were made at the same time as the galaxy they are in. What had confused me for years is the terminology, particularly since what we think of as holes having some ending point.


  7. Reply to: shanolelinate
    5. Januar 2020 um 13:36

    Elsewhere I have written that people who have not had mystical experiences tend to overlook or discredit the written autobiographical accounts of those who have had such experiences (e.g. St. Teresa of Avila, St. Faustina Kowalska).

    Meanwhile, those who have had mystical experiences tend to see the same autobiographical accounts as overlooked or ignored data—in poststructural terms, mystical accounts are hidden or discredited „discourses.“

    Poststructuralists like Michel Foucault argue that social power plays an important role in which discourses are deemed legitimate and which are not. Essentially, discourses compete for legitimacy; because mysticism is largely a private matter – or a dynamic involving a few sensitive individuals – it is more difficult to demonstrate to the masses.

    So, in simple terms… if most people do not have profound mystical experiences, discourses about those experiences will not enjoy a high degree of social legitimacy. However, this does not mean that the truth claims contained in those discourses are necessarily false. It could mean that most people are „in the dark“ (ala Plato’s Cave Analogy).

    Final note: The writer on mysticism Evelyn Underhill argues that genuine mysticism is rational, not irrational.


  8. The rational being distinguishes itself from the brute because, being able to assert itself, through its faculties of abstraction and reflection, to the concept of cause, it puts before itself two problems from whose solution the explanation and reason of the universe should arise, the problem of death and the problem of the existence of evil. Ancient religions gave a vague and uncertain solution to the former, and did not give any of the latter. Prometheus who dared to agitate this problem was a rebel who Jupiter nailed the Caucasus.

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  9. Going through the news I learned that the debate is not over!

    Just search Google >> News >> “ new theory about black holes “

    I find that science is a fickle beast. The moment they proclaim something is written in the laws of nature, an anomaly usually appears and new thinking follows…

    I find this in both the hard and soft sciences. That’s why I often say the uncritical acceptance of scientific truth claims is not unlike a religion. 🙂


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