The team that took the first image of a black hole has been launched on a more ambitious journey: make a clear video of the ‘monster’ that inhabits the center of our galaxy.
Until a few years ago, seeing a black hole seemed something exclusive to science fiction. However, this year the first image of one was revealed, and, since then, astronomers are preparing to take the next big step: get a video of the super massive black hole of the Milky Way.
Professor Heino Falcke, from the University of Radboud in the Netherlands, is part of the EHT team, which took the first photograph of a black hole. Now, he has been in charge of announcing the new project: color recording Sagittarius * A, the black hole that inhabits the center of our galaxy.
In this way, you can see the massive object in action, while devouring the stellar matter that falls into its jaws. An unprecedented show.
“Like the planets, a black hole rotates. And because of its incredibly strong gravity, it distorts space and time around it,” he tells the BBC.
Falcke emphasizes that seeing this “very strange” effect generated by the rotation of space is “one of the holy grails of astrophysics.”
And the most incredible thing is that, given that even light cannot escape from this object, color images of it could be captured. But how is this possible?
Falcke’s team, who proposed the idea of the so-called Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), already knows how to photograph these objects that, in theory, cannot be seen (they are absolutely black, the color of the void from space). The key is in your environment.
The EHT team published earlier this year a photograph of a super massive black hole right in the center of a distant galaxy. This object measures 40 billion kilometers, equivalent to three million times the size of the Earth.
The famous image shows the super heated gas surrounding the black hole in different shades of orange.
What astronomers can see – and can engrave – is the material that falls into the black hole’s domains and becomes super heated gas, which would change color as it approaches the ‘hungry’ object.
Once the lights of these gases reach Earth’s telescopes, the black hole could be seen in the middle of a ‘multicolored party’. An enigma revealing itself.
To achieve this new feat, the international team must implement a super telescope. Therefore, they plan to add ground telescopes in Greenland, France and regions of Africa.
They have also requested funds from the US National Science Foundation. UU. (NSF) in order to send three satellites to orbit to complement the study from Earth.
This super telescope will be effectively larger than Earth, and will be able to take sharp images of the black hole in the center of our galaxy.
For his part, Professor Shep Doleman of Harvard University, USA. UU, Director of the EHT project, said the new images and video will make it possible to better test Einstein’s theories and definitely discover how black holes generate jets that run at the speed of light, piercing entire galaxies.
“[We plan] to create huge virtual telescopes, and new radio installations will be built worldwide. The EHT team is just getting started,” Doleman told the BBC .
For his part, Falcke says he struggled with his colleagues to get financing for the project. After achieving this, they did not disappoint the scientific community and asserted the global effort made.
The EHT team, made up of 347 scientists, recently won the Breakthrough Award ($3 million) for the historic black hole photograph.