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Black holes are some of the most intriguing and mysterious objects in the universe, inspiring entire libraries of both scientific research and science fiction, from Einstein to the movie Interstellar. Yet despite the hold that their inconceivable gravity has on our imaginations, as well as our understanding of physics, humans have never actually seen a black hole.
That appears set to change Wednesday with the impending release of the first image taken of Sagittarius A, the black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. It's a landmark moment for both science and technology made possible by the Event Horizon Telescope, which is actually an array telescopes spread out across the Earth.
Plenty - Pictures - Holes
Yes, I know what you're thinking: "I've seen plenty of pictures of black holes."
Perhaps you're thinking of something like this:
Illustration - Hole - Scientists - Data - NASA
This is an illustration of a black hole scientists believe may exist based on data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Telescope and other observatories.
All these images we've seen from NASA and other scientific organizations are just illustrations created with the help of artists, although many of them are actually based on data from real telescopes. The above one comes largely from data gathered by NASA's Chandra X-Ray telescope, which is able to detect the super-heated matter being pulled toward the event horizon, or perimeter of a black hole.
Illustration - Kind - Hurricane - Wind - Data
So that beautiful illustration is kind of like drawing a hurricane based on wind speed data from the outer edges of the storm. To actually see a satellite image of a brooding and sprawling tropical cyclone is another thing altogether.
But to really capture a direct image of a black hole, or at least the shadow of one outlined by the bright material being pulled toward it, requires some serious collaborative engineering.
EHT - Array - Radio
The EHT is actually an array of radio...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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