Black holes live up to their name. They emit no light and they’re usually very far away. This makes it hard to take pictures of them, and indeed, some people claimed that they might not exist. But that’s no longer true. In episode 19 of Subatomic Stories, Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln tells us how we are quite sure that black holes are real.
In recent years, scientists have found ways to study black holes, listening to the gravitational waves they unleash when they collide and even creating an image of one by combining information from radio telescopes around the world. But our knowledge of black holes remains limited. So scientists are figuring out how to make do with substitutes — analogs to black holes that may hold answers to mysteries about gravity and quantum mechanics.
From ABC7: Fermilab scientist Brad Benson talks about the South Pole Telescope’s role part in the Event Horizon Telescope. Scientists behind the Event Horizon Telescope recently revealed the first image ever made of a black hole, depicting its hot, shadowy edges where light bends around itself in a cosmic funhouse effect. Assembling data gathered by eight radio telescopes around the world, astronomers created the picture showing the violent neighborhood around a supermassive black hole, the light-sucking monsters of the universe theorized by Einstein more than a century ago and confirmed by observations for decades.
From WBEZ’s Morning Shift, April 10, 2019: WBEZ interviews Fermilab scientist Brad Benson about the recent unveiling of the first ever photograph of a black hole. The Event Horizon Telescope, a collaboration between more than 200 scientists using telescopes from around the world, shot photographs of a supermassive black hole in the galaxy M87.
From CNN, April 10, 2019: Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln explains the big news from the Event Horizon Telescope on its first direct observation of a black hole at the center of a galaxy named M87. M87 is a supergiant elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo.
The Event Horizon Telescope—a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration—was designed to capture images of a black hole. On April 10, in coordinated news conferences across the globe, researchers revealed that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.
From CNN, April 6, 2019: Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln explains a result from the GRAVITY collaboration, which put Einstein’s theory of relativity to the test, making measurements of light near a black hole.
A global network of telescopes has been working to capture the first ever image of a black hole. On Wednesday, April 10, at 8 a.m. CDT, the National Science Foundation will hold a press conference to announce a groundbreaking result from the Event Horizon Telescope. Watch the press conference live stream online.