Taking a Picture of a Black Hole

It is generally considered to be impossible to photograph a black hole but a world wide array of radio telescopes may just be able to do it. Black holes are normally invisible basically by definition since intense their gravity even pulls light in to it. However the Event Horizon Telescope project plans to change this by using an array of 50 radio telescopes to capture the first images of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

The possibility exists because when dust and gas get near the black hole before it goes around before eventually falling inside. As dust and gas get drawn in to this cosmic holding pattern it causes lots of friction heating to plasma with a temperature of over 1,000,000,000 degrees causing it to glow as radio frequencies. The new radio telescopes array will be capable of detecting the radio energy.

So how does this all one to photograph the black hole? The black hole itself would show up as a shadow in the glow of dust and gas. This will be more than an interesting picture, though it will be an amazing one to see, because it will allow the testing of General Relativity that the event horizon of a black hole should be perfectly spherical. If it turns out not to be it will point to a flaw possible in General Relativity theory. According to General Relativity the black holes event horizon forms as a result of the gravitational potential reaching a point where not even light can not escape from it, as a result the  event horizon should be perfectly spherical. This means that should the pictures show that it is not spherical then it would be a problem though not a total failure of General Relativity.

The results of these pictures should be interesting and are something to look forward too.



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