Image Credit: EHT Collaboration.
By Inés Urdaneta / Physicist and Research Scientist at Resonance Science Foundation
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), the largest scientific initiative, has given the world the closets look and confirmation of Sagittarius A*, the black hole in the center of our Galaxy, the Milky Way. It is just 26,000 light years away from Earth!
In our RSF scientific blog we had been following the EHT initiative. EHT is an international collaboration that aims to obtain the first image of the event horizon of a black hole, using a virtual telescope the size of the earth. Different telescopes scattered across the planet collect the data of the same object, which is then combined and processed by a supercomputer to produce a final image through the interferometry technique, just as the one used in ALMA, but this time at a global scale. By triangulating the data from the nine telescope arrays – (ARO/SMT), (APEX), (IRAM), (JCMT), (LMT), (SMA), (ALMA), (SPT) -, the EHT works like one enormous antenna with a radio dish thousands of kilometers across.
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile as part of the Event Horizon Telescope EHT, a virtual radio dish almost as big as Earth.Luc Novovitch/Alamy Stock Photo
Since April 2017 the EHT team have been collecting data on Sagittarius A* and comparing it to models of what General Relativity Theory predicts the black hole to look like. Results were expected by 2019 and given that Sgr. A* nuclei is much less active that Messier 87 (M87*), the image reported in 2019 was that of M87* (to the right in the image below). Even though M87* is 2000 times farther away (55 million light-years), it is almost 2000 times more massive. This compensates the distance, with a higher nuclei activity allowing a better resolution and faster data analysis than Sgr. A*. Press conferences all around the globe, including Conacyt in Mexico City, announced the 2019 endeavor, showing the first image of a black hole (M87*).
It took another three years to complete the data analysis of the closer, but less active black hole in the center of our galaxy (left image below). And the reconstructed image, is breathtaking!
The EHT not only captures the image of the super massive black hole event horizon, but it also serves to test Einstein’s general relativity theory (GRT), which again is validated by the image obtained for Sgr. A*.
RSF in perspective:
We celebrate this announce with great joy, since it confirms as well, one of the most remarkable predictions that our research director, Nassim Haramein, has been positing for more than 25 years: there must be a black hole at the center of galaxies, because black holes are the precursors of galaxy formation. And this last is supported by observations, since astronomers have found black holes that predate their hosting galaxies, or that are too large with respect to their hosting galaxy. In such scenarios, the predominating cosmological explanation that a black hole forms because of the accumulation of mass in the center of the galaxy, no longer holds.