We are giving humanity its first view o f a black hole, a one-way door out o f our universe’
Black hole image shows matter being sucked into timeless oblivion
A black hole surrounded by swirling ring of fire has been pictured by scientists for the first time in an image described as ‘the gates of hell, at the end of space and time.’ The phenomenon which has never been observed before shows superheated matter being pulled towards the event horizon after which nothing can escape.
It was captured by a global team of more than 200 scientists using eight telescopes, and is the first visual proof of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, which predicts that when enough mass collapses together it deforms spacetime creating a gravity field that pulls even light inside.
“We are giving humanity its first view of a black hole, a one-way door out of our universe.” said Dr Shep Doele-man. Director of the Event Horizon Tek-scope (EHT) team which has been hunting for a black hole for a decade.
“It’s the discovery of my lifetime, and I think of many other |)eople’s lifetimes.”
Until now black holes liave only been seen indirectly through their impact on nearby galaxies and stars. It was thought they would be impossible to ever observe. But re-searchers, including astrophysicists at University Colk’ge London (UCL), looked for die shadows cast by super-heated bits of space rock and dust as they tumbled into the black hole.
The image, hailed as “huge breakthrough for humanity’ shows a glowing mass of plasma with a clear circular area of distorted spacetime in the centre.
Professor Heino Falcke, of Radboud University, the Netherlands, who unveiled the image to the world at a press briefing in Brussels, said: “It looks like a ring of fire and it’s being created by the distortion in space time. It looks like the gates of liell at the end of space and time.”
I)r Ziri Younsi of UCL’s Milliard Space Science Labora-tory, who worked on EHT proj-ect. said: “We have accomplished something many tliought impossible by imaging tlie shadow of a black hole and it provides the strongest evidence to date that such evasive and enigmatic entities do indeed exist.