The scientists involved in the Event Horizon Telescope project continue to deliver on their promises. A few years ago, the team gave us our first photo of a black hole ever. Now, they’ve given us the most detailed black hole photo ever, and it’s absolutely stunning.
When the EHT team first revealed its photo of a black hole at the center of Messier 87 (M87), we were astonished. Now, though, the more detailed photo provides an even clearer view of the black hole, which was only made possible thanks to the use of yet another telescope at a different point in time.
The most detailed black hole photo so far is still far from crystal clear. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to get around that. What we’re looking at here is one of the most powerful forces in the entire universe, and it’s literally sucking in light, gas, and dust from around it. So, it’s hard to expect a photo with crystal clear detail. Still, this level of detail showcased here is astounding.
But how did astronomers capture this sharper image? Well, a lot of it comes down to the Doppler/Einstein effects, which cause the black hole to appear brighter on one side. The bright spot shifted to the right between the capturing of the two images (one was captured in 2017 and one in 2019), which allowed for a sharper and more detailed image to be snapped.
The astronomers say that they expected this to happen and even predicted it when they captured that first photo and posted the results. Capturing the most detailed photo of a black hole so far just shows that revisiting targets of past observations is worthwhile, as well, because it helps us learn more about these cosmic objects, especially black holes, which remain one of the most intriguing mysteries of the cosmos.
Scientists also hope to capture multiple images of a black hole going forward and even use them to create the first “video” of a black hole to help showcase the object’s chaotic nature.