Scientists plan to capture the first black hole image, and they will do it in their own way – with a new algorithm developed by MIT. The method is called CHIRP and will construct the picture by using radio telescope visuals.
Taking a picture directly from Earth would be like trying to photograph a grapefruit on the Moon, said one of the students who developed the algorithm. The telescope would be the most powerful built ever, and will have a size as big as the Earth. Such a venture is impossible.
Thus, MIT proposed to take measurements and data from observatories situated in different locations and use them to create a unified black hole image. The project already got approvals from six institutes.
Radio images help to capture data by going through other materials. A picture taken from Earth would not be able to grasp images from our galaxy because of the interfering space dust.
The algorithm will use the new telescope data to develop a picture of a black hole, by organizing the images in conformity with the latest space theories.
Scientists say that this new method may be essential in proving Einstein’s theory of relativity. Capturing a real black hole image that would have a size comparable with Einstein’s predictions will remove all doubts surrounding its general validity.
Researchers want to investigate the space around black holes further so that they would have more details on how a black hole feeds off space materials and how it transforms them.
The observations will begin in the spring of 2017 when telescopes will have the optimal conditions to capture images.
Up until now, a black hole image would have been impossible to obtain. Thus, scientists used predictions to draw approximate pictures of what a space-time with massive gravitational effects may look like.
Even though these old simulated images are, as far as we know now, scientifically correct, there is no direct evidence of black holes. Astrophysicists rely on indirect observations coming from the study of gravitational interactions.
The telescopes that agreed to join the project have been already studying Sagittarius A, a black hole in the center of our galaxy. The Event Horizon Telescope announced in 2015 the presence of magnetic fields outside Sagittarius A, which confirms the theoretical information we have now on black holes.
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