The heart of each significant galaxy is thought to contain a supermassive black hole – a spot where gravity is so strong that anything, together with light, gets demolished.
Like all black holes, massive ones form, when stars collapse in on themselves on the end of their life cycles. On average, they’re millions of times extra huge than the Sun.
Scientists have struggled for years to capture a black hole on camera because the absence of sunshine renders them practically unattainable to see.
However, on April 10, a group of scientists from the international Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration released the first-ever image of a supermassive black hole to the general public. Although the image was fuzzy, it signified a major milestone for space analysis.
The accomplishment has now earned the group a 2020 Breakthrough Prize, which was awarded on September 5. The prize was started eight years in the past by a team of investors together with Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg, and is also known as the “Oscars of Science.”
The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration (EHT) group will collectively receive US$3 million. However, the cash shall be divided equally among the group’s 347 scientists, giving every particular person around US$8,600.
The April picture captured a supermassive black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy, about 54 million light-years away from Earth. The black hole in the picture seemingly had a mass equal to 6.5 billion Suns.
Black holes are outlined by a border known as the event horizon: a region of space which is so dense with matter that not even light can escape its gravity. This creates a circular ‘shadow,’ where all light and matter is swallowed up.
Outside the event horizon, supermassive black holes have an accmulation disk – clouds of hot gas and dust trapped in orbit. Though scientists cannot see past a black hole’s event horizon, they’ll detect the gas and dust in that disk, for the reason that materials give off radio waves that may be captured by a high-powered telescope.
That is what EHT scientists captured in their groundbreaking picture.