A big moment awaits astrophysicists, science enthusiasts and the curious in 2019! Since the launch of the Horizon Telescope Event (EHT), a network of telescopes pointed at the black hole in the centre of our galaxy, researchers have taken a giant step forward and are about to unveil the very first photograph of the mysterious Sagittarius A*.
In the shadow of the giants
Black holes, by definition, are invisible. These titanic cosmic creatures are indeed so massive that beyond a point called the ‘event horizon,’ nothing, not even light, can escape their hold. Our best tool to study them so far has been their environment and how it is influenced.
In recent years, the EHT has focused particularly on the Sagittarius A * event horizon, the black hole at the centre of our galaxy. In 1978, the famous French astrophysicist Jean-Pierre Luminet offered us a taste of the appearance that such an object could take through a simulation made by a computer with punch cards. Today, thanks to the combined power of the EHT, researchers are preparing to move up a gear.
An exceptional turning point
After months of collecting and transferring data, calibrating and reviewing the results obtained with the EHT, we are now sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for the press release announcing the publication of the very first high-resolution photograph of a black hole, or more precisely of its ‘shadow,’ embodied by its accretion disk (Sagittarius A* does not release any matter).
This study, besides the fact that it is exceptionally exciting, has the potential to completely reverse or reinforce our current theories on the functioning of the cosmos and more particularly the theory of general relativity. ‘We are at a particularly exciting time when we can test what people thought 100 years ago,’ says Kazunori Akiyama, a researcher at MIT Haystack Observatory. Get your popcorn ready, get comfortable and prepare to be dazzled!
Check out the video above for more!