Black Holes- Can we ever fathom?

First ever image of Black Hole by Event Horizon Telescope

10 April 2019, saw a breakthrough in history of science, which the scientists described as when one of the most incredible mathematical concepts went from an equation on board to real image. It was made when EHT (Event Horizon Telescope) released the first ever image of a Black Hole. It’s fascinating that we were actually seeing a picture of space-time being heavily distorted. How amazing and inconceivable is that? 40 billion kilometers wide and 500 million trillion kilometers away. This is too much to comprehend for our tiny little brain.

Moreover, The image of Black hole you see now is what it looked like 55 million years ago.

But sorry to disappoint, the image shown is not of the Black hole itself, as gravity is so strong that light can’t escape there, which is related to a special area called event horizon, which is the point of no return or a boundary beyond which events cannot affect an observer. What we are really seeing here is not the black hole itself but all the matter swirling around it and eventually falling in it.

You see the orange ring around it? It’s a false color image. What we are seeing is not a visible light but a representation of radiation emitted near black hole. The yellow/orange color was chosen to help carry out the idea that the material around black holes is hot. The emission of swirling lines you see around black holes are the visual representation of the polarization of light at telescopes on our sides which tells the orientation of magnetic field at black holes.

This breakthrough image of black hole is just one of the bricks in ever building concepts of fundamental physics. There are still so many unresolved questions around blackholes. I feel utterly unnerved by the sight of it. It’s like knowing this thing fundamentally exists out there and we know very little about it.

Professor Richard Massey explains that falling through Event Horizon is literally passing beyond the veil- once someone falls past it, nobody could ever send back the message. They’d be ripped to pieces by the enormous gravity. Eventually the person will hit the central point, called singularity. The singularity is, mathematically, where gravity becomes infinitely strong, so the curvature of spacetime becomes infinite.

In Mark Di Stefano’s Word - “What a time to be Alive”.

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Shreya Upadhyay

Shreya Upadhyay

Neuroscience/Economics/Music/ Books Lover and Wizarding world enthusiast & Adventurer