General relativity led to a new conception of the cosmos, in which space-time could quiver, bend, rip, expand, swirl like a mix-master and even disappear forever into the maw of a black hole.To Einstein’s surprise, the equations indicated that when too much matter or energy was concentrated in one place, space-time could collapse, trapping matter and light in perpetuity.On Wednesday morning that dark vision became a visceral reality.
General relativity led to a new conception of the cosmos, in which space-time could quiver, bend, rip, expand, swirl like a mix-master and even disappear forever into the maw of a black hole.To Einstein’s surprise, the equations indicated that when too much matter or energy was concentrated in one place, space-time could collapse, trapping matter and light in perpetuity.On Wednesday morning that dark vision became a visceral reality.Tags: Detailed Business Plan ExampleThesis Statement For Nelson Mandela EssayAyn Rand Essays OnlineMfa Programs Creative Writing EnglandGarys Car Sales Maths CourseworkInformal Essay TopicsResearch Methodology For Masters Dissertation
The mystery of black holes has tantalized astronomers for more than half a century.
In the 1950s, astronomers with radio telescopes discovered that pearly, seemingly peaceful galaxies were spewing radio energy from their cores — far more energy than would be produced by the ordinary thermonuclear engines that make stars shine.
“His theory has just been stress-tested under conditions of extreme gravity, and looks to have held up.” Kip Thorne, an astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology, and who shared a Nobel Prize in 2017 for the discovery of gravitational waves from colliding black holes, wrote in an email: “It is wonderful to see the nearly circular shadow of the black hole.
There can be no doubt this really is a black hole at the center of M87, with no signs of deviations from general relativity.”Janna Levin, a cosmologist and professor at Barnard College in New York, said, “What a time to be alive.” The image emerged from two years of computer analysis of observations from a network of radio antennas called the Event Horizon Telescope.
But others, hidden in the center of nearly every galaxy, are millions or billions of times more massive than the sun.
Nobody knows how such behemoths of nothingness could have been assembled.
Nor do scientists know what ultimately happens to whatever falls into a black hole, nor what forces reign at the center, where, theoretically, the density approaches infinity and smoke pours from nature’s computer.
Any lingering doubts about the reality of black holes dissolved three years ago when the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, detected the collision of a pair of distant black holes, which sent a shiver through the fabric of space-time. Peter Galison, a physicist, filmmaker and historian at Harvard, and a member of the Event Horizon team, noted that there is “a wonderful open-ended sense of being able to see something” instead of merely accumulating statistical evidence.
The images released today bolster the notion of violence perpetrated over cosmic scales, said Sera Markoff, an astrophysicist at the University of Amsterdam, and a member of the Event Horizon team.
“Black holes must be the most exotic major disrupters of cosmic order,” she said.