Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Science https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Anniversary Star: What we have learned about black holes since

Anniversary Star: What we have learned about black holes since



  • Director Christopher Nolan's Hollywood blockbuster "Interstellar" has just celebrated its fifth anniversary.
  • In the movie, Matthew McConaughey plays an astronaut who travels in a supermassive black hole called Gargaunto.
  • To make Interstellar scientifically accurate, Nolan hired physicist Kip Thorne to make the black hole as realistic as possible.
  • But after the movie came out, scientists learned more about how black holes look and even introduced them for the first time. [19659002] These findings revealed that, despite Nolan and Thorne's best efforts, Gargantua was not completely accurate.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

At the heart of every galaxy lies a supermassive black hole where gravity is so intense that nothing ̵

1; even light – can escape from its boundary.

In the movie "Interstellar", a fictional black hole called Gargantua takes center stage. The movie was released exactly five years ago, in November 2014. It features Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway playing astronauts traveling through a wormhole – a tunnel that allows almost instantaneous travel between distant points – to explore three planets orbiting Orgonto , 10 billion light-years from Earth.

Eventually, McConaughey's character directs his ship into a supermassive black hole, inside which he discovers a fifth dimension, dimensional omniscient beings, and the ability to communicate with his estranged daughter in time and space.

Director Christopher Nolan and his visual effects team strive for superb scientific accuracy at Interstellar – they even hire theoretical physicist and Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne as a consultant.

"Neither worms nor black holes are portrayed in any Hollywood movie as they will actually appear," Thorne said in an interview before the movie's release. "This is the first time that portrayal begins with equations of common Einstein's relativity. "

In fact, Gargantua's portrayal of the film was praised as the most accurate black hole movie portrait ever.

 black hole

Artist's concept of a supermassive black hole.
NASA / JPL-Caltech / Reuters


But over the last five years, a handful of great discoveries about black holes have given physicists new insights into what these massive objects look like and how they behave. Based on this information, Gargantua was not completely accurate, although it is still approaching in many ways. Here's what Interstellar got right and wrong.

The first image of a black hole ever captured

Supermassive black holes are formed when stars collapse on themselves at the end of their life cycle. On average, they are millions of times more massive than the sun.

Scientists have struggled for decades to capture a single camera because black holes are so massive and rotate so fast that they distort space and time, ensuring that nothing can break free from their gravitational pull. Because even light cannot escape, these forces create a unique shadow in the form of a perfect circle in the center of the black hole.

The outer boundary of this center is known as the black hole event horizon or "point of no return."

But in April, a group of scientists from the International Event Horizon (EHT) telescope released the first ever photo Although the image is blurry, this indicates that, as intended, the black holes appear to be dark spheres surrounded by a glowing ring of light.

"When the gas cloud approaches the black hole, they accelerate and they heat up, " Josephine Peter astrophysicist at Oxford University, told Business Insider. "It shines brighter, faster and hotter. After all, the gas cloud approaches enough that pulling the black hole stretches it into a thin arc."

An unprecedented photo shows a supermassive black hole in the center of the Messier 87 Galaxy, which is about 54 million light-years from Earth. The mass of the black hole equals 6.5 billion suns.

 This image, published on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, shows a black hole from the Event Horizon telescope. Scientists have uncovered the first image ever made of a black hole after collecting data collected from a network of radio telescopes around the world. (Horizontal Competition Telescope Collection / Maunakea Observatories via AP)

On April 10, 2019, the Horizontal Event Telescope team released the first ever black hole image.
Creating an event horizon telescope / Maunakea Observatories through AP


To capture the image, astronomers rely on years of data from eight telescopes synchronized around the world. So the image is a reconstructed view, not a photo.

"Feels like looking at the gates of hell, at the end of space and time," says Heino Falke, an associate at the Event Horizon telescope when the photo was posted.

The next objective of the EHT team is Sagittarius A *, the black hole in the center of our own galaxy.

We simulated what it might look like to hang near a black hole

Since the April EHT image was so blurry, NASA scientists created a visualization of what a black hole might look like in close up and in action.

The animation shows how gravity around a black hole would twist light from an orbiting cloud of gas, dust, dead stars and other cosmic detrites (called an accreditation disk). This will look like an arc of fire bending around a dark abyss.

The black hole will change in appearance depending on how you look at it. A side view, like the one below, will show that the folding disk slides around the event horizon.

 Photo of NASA's black hole

Illustration of a black hole viewed from the side.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Jeremy Schnittman


The disk will appear brighter on one side than the other, as it is likely that the black hole of the M87 rotates, which also rotates the dust and gas clouds orbiting it. This would make the material moving to our eyes look brighter than the material moving away – a bit like a beacon on a headlight.

However, if you look at the black hole from above or below, the accumulation disk will form an almost perfect circle and the light will appear more evenly distributed.

According to Thorne, the reason that the black hole in "Interstellar" does not match the image of the black hole on the M87 is that Nolan was chosen to miss this bright and darkening phenomenon.

Thorne told Gizmodo that "the human eye will probably not be able to distinguish the differences in brightness on either side of the hole when the overall brightness is so extreme." Therefore, it seems that the black hole of the film has the same brightness everywhere.

 Interstellar Black Hole

The depiction of a black hole seen in the movie "Interstellar".
Paramount Pictures


Scientists have confirmed that there is a supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy

Supermassive black holes are common in the universe – they are found in the center of almost every galaxy that scientists have examined. The black hole in the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A *, is 25,000 light-years away and 4 million times heavier than our sun.

The Sagittarius A * disc is about 100 million miles wide, or slightly wider than the distance between Earth and the Sun.

In October 2018, astronomers revealed that they observed Sagittarius A * sucking hot gas at 30% of light speed – 201 million mph. This triggered three powerful bursts of radiation that were detected by telescopes on the ground.

 Milky Way Galaxy Center Spitzer Infrared

Milky Way Galaxy Center Imaged by Spitzer Space Telescope Infrared Camera October 9, 2019

NASA, JPL-Caltech, Susan Canteens (SSC / Caltech), et al.


At the time, the study's authors said that the torches "provide a long-awaited confirmation that the object at the center of our galaxy is, as has long been supposed, a supermassive black hole."

Oxford, who did not participate in the survey, previously told Business Insider that the observations follow material "as close to the black hole as possible without being consumed by it."

But Peter added that Sagittarius A * is "still incredibly mysterious."

The more scientists learn about black holes like A * Sagittarius, the better directors like Nolan can portray them in Hollywood blockbusters.


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