Scientists have taken pictures of black holes: video of the next decade

Although 2019 is not over yet, the release of the first black hole photograph of humanity must be a top-up discovery, not to mention this year’s major scientific discovery. In April, the world released the first black hole photos of humans. For the first time, humans have “photographed” a black hole 55 million light-years away, in the middle of a distant M87 galaxy, about 6.5 billion times the mass of the sun.

(Original title: Head of the First Black Hole Photo Production Project: The goal of the next decade is to film black holes)


Journalist Wang Xinxin

When you first saw this picture, did it fit your imagination of a black hole? Many people began to tease the way it looked, opening their brains. So what about the first impression of the black hole for those involved in the creation of the black hole photo, in line with their expectations of the black hole?

“Interestingly, when we first posted this photo, it didn’t feel like it was a cool photo. But after the press conference, we found out that the covers of all the news organizations on the planet were this picture, and then we started to worry. The impact was so great that we worked on it for a long time, completely knowing whether we would eventually succeed. “At the 2020 Breakthrough Prize, Shep Doeleman, director of the EHT Program and head of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, gave an interview to The News. Describe how i felt the first time I saw this picture.

The EHT project also won the 2020 Science Breakthrough Award, the Basic Physics Award.

The Event Vision Telescope (EHT) project team is the team behind the first black hole photograph of humans. One of the targets of eHT was a supermassive black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy, with a mass equivalent to 6.5 billion suns. Using new algorithms and techniques, the team, after painstaking data analysis, finally presented an image of the “galaxy monster”: a black black hole in the center, surrounded by hot, rotating gas.

The image also validates Einstein’s theory of gravity’s prediction of a black hole: because light cannot break through the black hole’s gravity, there is a bright ring around the black hole that rotates around the black region at the center.

In the interview, Dellerman briefed News on the challenges and anecdotes of the team’s work, future research plans, and the role of cooperation in scientific research.

Next target: Shooting a black hole Video

According to Einstein’s gravity field equation, if a large amount of matter is concentrated in space, space-time-distorted “vision” will form around the odd spot, and once inside the interface, even photons cannot escape. The prediction was made in 1916, but it wasn’t until 1967 that John Wheeler, a nuclear physicist at Princeton University, first used the term “black hole” in a lecture and quickly spread.

As early as April 2017, the EHT team began joint observations of black holes, and technical and theoretical work began earlier.

According to Dourman, the successful capture of images of black holes depends more on the heavens and earths. One reason is that the team needs to upgrade and connect eight existing radio telescopes to form a global network, including ALMA, APEX, IRAM 30-meter telescope, James Maxwell Clerk, Large Millimeter Wave Telescope (LMT), submillimeter wave array (SMA), and submillimeter wave telescopes ( SMT) and the Antarctic Telescope (SPT).

These telescopes are located at a variety of challenging high altitudes, including volcanoes in Hawaii and Mexico, mountains in Arizona, Sierra Nevada in Spain, the Atacama Desert in Chile, and the South Pole. In addition, special supercomputers used to calculate academician observations are distributed in different locations, at the Map radio station and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Hestak Observatory.

“That’s why i said the first time I saw this picture, it was weird. Because everything needs to come together and work at the same time. Technology, telescopes, computers are needed, but more importantly, this black hole needs to work together. We can control telescopes, we can control computers, but we can’t control black holes. Thanks to this particular black hole, we finally presented its aperture and confirmed Einstein’s prediction. If it doesn’t work, we may be looking for it now. Dullman said.

After taking a picture of the black hole, is The EHT’s work over, what’s the next step? “We took a picture of a black hole, and then we increased the telescope to 11, and we just got new research funding to find the best observation slot in the best place. With the previous telescopes, more network technology support and computing is an improvement in power, and we want to do two things in the future. One is to take better pictures of black holes, and the other is to be able to take video of black holes in the next 10 years. “Duhrmann said.

With existing data and computer models, the EHT team is already simulating motion images of black holes, Mr. Dullman said.

Black Hole Photos Are a Model of Scientific Cooperation

The most mentioned word for the EHT project, whether in interviews, in award-winning speeches, and at the next day’s symposium, Dourman was about cooperation.

“The advent of this photograph is not a one-man achievement. To build such a web of observations on a global scale, you need to build a team big enough. Dullman said.

It is understood that the EHT project, a total of 20 countries and regions around the world, 60 research institutions of scientists composed of international cooperation team, through the united states in Antarctica, Chile, Mexico, the United States Hawaii, Arizona and Spain, eight high-sensitivity radio telescopes, the first time to take pictures of black holes.

Among the 60 research institutions, they include the Shanghai Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Yunnan Observatory and other institutions, as well as the University of Central China, Nanjing University, Zhongshan University, Peking University, the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Taiwan University and other institutions.

“We have a great working with the Chinese team, and one of my postdoctoral students is Chinese. I know China has a lot of investment in space. I don’t know who will lead this field in the future. But if you ask me what role China will play in space in the future, I think China will become very professional in this field. Similarly, China is very professional in building new telescopes. Mr Dullman said.

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