Good news science fans, we’re getting our very first look at a black hole in the very near future (this year).
Scientists have turned on a group of telescopes globally to capture the supermassive black hole – Sagittarius A, located 26,000 light years away at the very centre of our galaxy.
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) will start operating from the 4th of April till the 14th of April. With the first images expected later this year.
Black holes are still a theory. No-one has ever seen a black hole before, but we’re pretty sure they exist. When stars and galaxies orbit an unseen object, scientists assume it's a black hole.
“These are the observations that will help us to sort through all the wild theories about black holes. And there are many wild theories, involved in the project, with data from this project, we will understand things about black holes that we have never understood before.” Said Gopal Narayanan at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The challenge capturing this black hole, Sagittarius A is its size. Black holes can be massive a billion times larger than the size of its sun. But Sagittarius A is only a little bigger than the sun, making it incredibly hard to pinpoint. According to Narayanan, it’s kind of like trying to capture a grapefruit on the moon.
The EHT with its ten telescopes will use radio waves to produce a combined set of data, known as very long baseline interferometry (VLBI). It’ll also be studying how black holes pull in matter. This data will be pulled together through winter and analysed by Spring.
No one knows what we’ll find; scientists predict we’ll see a large circular horizon around the larger black hole- think Gargantuan from Interstellar.
This may well be one of the most exciting science discoveries of the year.
So watch this space (or space in general).