How Was the Black Hole Image Created and Why?

On April 10th, 2019, the first image of a black hole was released. The black hole is located in the galaxy Messier 87, which is 53.49 million light years away from Earth. This picture was created by a project called the Event Horizon Telescope, also known as the EHT. The EHT did this by using a network of eight ground-based telescopes all over the world to collect data and then generate an image based on the readings that the telescopes picked up.

 

When one looks at the image, you can see orange and yellow light radiating from the black hole. The reason for this is that black holes are super dense and have insanely strong gravity fields. Because of this, some light rays get pulled through, but some are far enough away from the hole itself that it they don’t get pulled through entirely but do get bent. This is what causes the glow around it.

 

With this info in mind, I wanted to interview Ms. Mutchnick, the seventh grade science teacher, to see what she thought about it.

 

When you heard about the image being released, what was your initial reaction?

 

I was very excited because it had never been done before and they had been talking about it for years and it’s incredible how they needed to find a way to do it.

 

The organization that planted the telescopes to generate the image is called EHT. The final project cost 50-60 million dollars to fund the picture’s creation. Do you think that that this was a good usage for the EHT and their funder’s money, or do you think it was a waste?

 

First of all, it’s giving us more understanding in an area that we will need to explore if we are going to survive as a species. Plus, we can use that data for other things. It’s not like we can only use that data once. You know, we can learn from it. They use billions on the military a year; I don’t see why science is such a problem.

 

Do you think that the EHT or any other organization should attempt taking a picture of a black hole again once technology is more advanced?

 

Of course, and it could also be interesting to try using the same techniques on other black holes to see if they’re similar or if there’s more differences than we realize. Just think of what we observed about the moon and our own solar system. You know, we don’t stop looking for things once we find something that’s good.

 

 

As you can see, from this interview, Ms. Mutchnick was very keen on the idea of the taking a picture of the black hole and is enthusiastic to keep researching and finding more out about our universe. Of course, this is just one person, but this interview definitely shows us the ‘why’ behind all the research done by the EHT.

 

by Violet Babb ’24

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