First Black Hole Photo

Pretty damn cool. Love space stuff.


180 years of photography and some space photos are still blurry. :joy:


I know it is because of our planet’s atmosphere that blurs it. But I wonder couldn’t they get Hubble Space Telescope to take a photo of it after locating it?

I think a system of 8 telescopes around the world have a bigger sharper combined resolution than one telescope orbiting in space. I guess it’s not the atmosphere that blurs it, just the tiny size of the spot in space we’re trying to look at.

We already knew how black holes looked like though:

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I think the fact that the galaxy we are taking a picture at is 16.4 MEGAParsecs away also hindered its accuracy somewhat.

Also, there is “a guestimate” of what a black hole looks like, and then there is actually seeing the damned thing. The black it produces makes Vantablack look perfectly white in comparison


Modern terrestrial telescopes have something called an adaptive optics to compensate for the atmosphere. The picture is so blurry because the galaxy this is in is 55 mil light years away (that’s 520340179999999983616 km)

This is a rendering based on long baseline inferometry by a network of eight radio telescopes. I know how this works and I’m still very impressed - that’s detail at 55m ly. (330 million trillion miles or so). Hubble probably can’t image this - assuming it can be seen through dust and and objects near or inline with it that dazzles out the accretion disk.

The world moves on: as impressive as Hubble still is, it’s a 30 year old telescope with a relatively small main mirror - it’s key advantage is that it is in space so doesn’t have to deal with our atmosphere.
As other have said, terrestrial telescopes at altitude with adaptive optics and larger collecting surfaces are now outperforming it - especially since they can now do visual wavelength inferometry as well.
And are easier to repair and maintain.

@Rich_Darine is correct “Pretty damn cool”.

@Arline_Kley (hello!) - this does provide validation of the accretion disc models; the disk and any associated jets being the only visible aspects of a black hole ignoring the Hawking Radiation which is going to be drowned out by any radiation from matter falling in.
(Fun fact: General Relativity neatly closes off the “seeing matter fall over the event horizon and being consumed” problems as at the horizon, time dilation is infinite. These are truly extraordinary objects)


To put things in context.

It’s an effin’ space beast.


Oh I know this - I was explaining this to a co-worker earlier today. And in regards to your fun fact, I believe that is the awesome thing. An outsider don’t see it happen, because you never cross the event horizon (in relation to them). To you its “this feels comfy and now I’m a space noodle.”

@Yiole_Gionglao and I believe the words you are looking for are “Absolute Galactic Unit”

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After reading about it last week been keeping an eye out for the image to pop up and yep definitely cool to see. To think that this thing could gobble up solar systems without so much as blinking is both impressive and a little intimidating.

One reason we may be even able to image a black hole that is 55 million light years away is because that particular one is an exceptional beast, at over 6 billion solar masses. The black hole at the center of our galaxy is a “mere” 4 million solar masses. Kinda mind blowing that we’re talking about over a thousand fold in difference.

Oh is that accurate? I didn’t know that it was infinite. Does that also mean that from our perspective, the singularity at the center did not yet form for all blackholes because it is basically frozen?

I need a banana or yomamaass for scale.

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That’s a good bit of insight.
It has formed, it - in its frame of reference continues to evolve, but we see the point where spacetime distortion becomes so great that it effectively stopped time when observed from our frame. That is almost the defining characteristic of the event horizon. Look at it this way: we see light still travelling at the speed of light (speed of light is a constant umpty meters per second in all frames to all observers), but at the event horizon time is running infinitly slowly because of the amount of matter distorting spacetime so light appears to us not to move away from that place - that’s describing the event horizon in terms of spacetime distortion caused by a big lump of matter rather than “mysterious force pulling things in”.
So we see the event horizon as it formed (as you say).
And because the region expands as it consumes matter we see the region expand, but we never actually see matter cross the event horizon.

That’s handwavy simplification - the details are fascinating, but hard without resorting to diagrams.

The force of gravity is an illusion. It’s all free motion in mass distorted spacetime.

Take a banana. Think of it as “the Earth”. An orange is a better model by the way, but we’ll go with a 'nana.
This object is bigger than the Earth is in comparison to that bit of fruit. Seriously big.
Trillions of Terabananas sort of scale.
We are very small.
But we can have big thoughts.

Do you actually get to be ‘space noodle’ or are you forever becoming ‘space noodle’?

Or is that only what a (distant?) observer sees, and yes you are most definitely ‘space noodle’ after a few seconds? If you’d like to post the transcript of your conversation with your co-worker that would be great :smiley:

Edit: quoting for prosperity.


Wouldn’t that also mean that from the view of the blackhole the outside universe would instantly end, no matter how?

I mean given it has an end. Or if it expands forever wouldn’t the negative pressure rip it apart again instantly?


From the viewpoint of your dropping into a black hole you happily trundle in and over the event horizon experiencing all the delights that go with it. But as you look back outwards towards the wider universe you will see time running increasingly faster until all time passes in the instant as you fall over the event horizon. You will see the entire future history of the universe in that one moment - as they will see you frozen forever in the instant of obliteration.

You may be a little distracted.

Man I really wish I would understand the math behind it so I could check some things :grinning: . Thanks for your explanations!

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I dont like how they propped up the woman on Twitter as if she was solely responsible or played a major part in this discovery.

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It’s sad that they actually harm their own cause. They make it look like women aren’t normaly capable of those things, which is obviously wrong.

This is now a female rights thread.