Now the iconic image of M87’s monstrous black hole – an object described as “the most perfect macroscopic objects in the universe, the only elements in their construction are our concepts of space and time” – taken in April 2019 by the Event Horizon team highlighted the sinister orange glow of its shadow.
The image, taken by the EHT team, marks the culmination of years of work by a team of 200 scientists at 59 institutes in 18 countries, based on data collected by eight telescopes whose locations range from Hawaii to the South Pole, creating the equivalent of a lens the size of planet Earth, which is 4,000 times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Shadow Knows is a film about the history of the visible universe
The image of the hippopotamus captures light from the entire universe wrapped around the object in a nested series of rings, said Harvard astrophysicist Peter Galison. “As we peer into these rings, we see light from the entire visible universe, we see farther and farther into the past, a film, so to speak, of the history of the visible universe.”
Hall of Mirrors – The orange glow around M87’s colossal black hole reveals the history of the observed universe
“Revealed by the strangeness of the arrangement”
Today, astronomers from the Hubble Space Telescope announced that “by a strange alignment, scientists can see the structure of the disk around the black hole in the nearby galaxy IC 5063, first brought to the attention of astronomers at the Harvard Astrophysics Center since the discovery of a lone citizen. an astronomer so sharply different from the EHT terrestrial team of 200 scientists.
The Hubble Space Telescope observes a collection of narrow bright rays and dark shadows radiating from the brilliantly bright center of the active galaxy. created when the object pulls stars and gas into a disk that revolves around them, generating a huge amount of energy, producing a powerful beam of light from overheated falling gas. “
This image of Hubble in the heart of IC 5063, shown at the top of the page, reveals a mixture of bright rays and dark shadows coming from the flaming core of its supermassive black hole. Astronomers have suggested that a ring of dusty material surrounding the black hole may cast its shadow into space. Hubble reports that “little light penetrates the gaps in the ring of dust, creating bright rays that resemble the spotlights accompanying the premiere of a Hollywood movie. These telltale rays offer clues about the distribution of the material near the black hole that causes the shadow play.
“The Shadow Knows” – EHT image reveals the anatomy of the Gargantuan Black Hole on the M87
Traced back to the core of the galaxy
A team of astronomers led by Peter Maxim of the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) traced the rays back to the galaxy’s core, the location of an active supermassive black hole where the monstrous object feeds French on falling material, producing a powerful light source from overheated gas. Although researchers have developed several plausible theories about the light show, the CfA reports, “the most intriguing idea is that a ring in the shape of an inner tube or a manure of dusty material surrounding the black hole casts its shadow into space.”
According to Maxim’s script, the dust disk around the black hole does not block all the light. The gaps in the disk allow light to come out, creating brilliant cone-shaped rays, similar to the fingers of light, sometimes observed at sunset. However, the rays in IC 5063 occur on a much larger scale, firing at least 36,000 light-years.
Throwing rays of light far beyond the galaxy
Some of the light strikes dense spots in the ring, casting the shadow of the ring into space. These shadows appear as dark shapes of fingers dotted with bright rays. These rays and shadows are visible because the black hole and its ring are inclined laterally to the plane of the galaxy. This alignment allows light rays to extend far beyond the galaxy.
This interaction of light and shadow offers a unique look at the distribution of the material surrounding the black hole. In some areas, the material may resemble scattered clouds. If this interpretation is correct, observations can provide indirect probing of the variegated disk structure.
“I’m most excited about the shadow of the idea of fertilizer, because it’s a really great effect that I don’t think we’ve seen in images so far, even though it’s hypothesized,” Maxim said. “Scientifically, it shows us something that is difficult – usually impossible – to see directly. We know that this phenomenon must happen, but in this case we can see the effects throughout the galaxy. Knowing more about the geometry of the fertilizer will have implications for anyone trying to understand the behavior of supermassive black holes and their environment. As the galaxy evolves, it is formed by its central black hole. “
The study of fertilizer is important because it directs the material to the black hole. If the interpretation of the “shadow” is correct, the dark rays provide indirect evidence that the disk in IC 5063 can be very thin, which explains why light leaks all around the structure.
Observations of similar black holes from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have found X-rays leaking from holes in the manure, making the structure look like Swiss cheese. The holes can be caused by a disk that is bent by internal forces, causing it to warp. said Maxim. “The distortion may create large enough gaps to allow some of the light to penetrate, and as the manure rotates, rays of light can cover the galaxy like headlights through fog,” he added.
A fascinating example of finding a single citizen
In a fascinating example of the discovery of a lone citizen astronomer, Judy Schmid, an artist and amateur astronomer based in Modesto, California, the Harvard CfA reported, revealed the dark shadows when he reworked Hubble’s exposition of the galaxy in December 2019. Schmidt regularly retrieved the archive. for interesting observations that she can turn into beautiful images. She shared these images on her Twitter show with numerous followers, one of whom was Peter Maxim.
“I noticed the dark rays almost as soon as I opened the file in Photoshop and started to improve them to make sure that what I think I saw was there. I couldn’t see them in the thumbnails of the archive or in the visualization of the stretched image in FITS Liberator, “Schmidt said, adding that when she first saw something that looked like shadows, she thought,” That’s not possible, is it? ” In his earliest tweets about the phenomena, Schmid asked his followers, “Do I strain to see these real ones?” And “Who are they?” This is an active galaxy with a supermassive black hole in the middle. Does it cast shadows the size of a galaxy? Or are these just stellar streams? “
It wasn’t long before Maxim and other scientists noticed the tweet and began speculating, the Harvard CfA reported, which eventually led to the formation of the research team and the discovery.
“Judy has a keen eye for what seems strange, which, as in this case, could have important scientific implications. In December, she spotted some “dark rays” extending from the core of the galaxy IC 5063 and tweeted to her followers, asking if they might be of interest, “said Maxim, whose interest was immediately sparked as he was already working at the same galaxy from a different scientific angle. “Several of us were invited and we started speculating what the rays might cause and at first we had no idea. When you read the Twitter thread, you can see how ideas develop in real time and transform into this really unusual study. “
“Older images from ground-based telescopes may show hints of this type of structure, but the galaxy itself is such a mess that you would never have guessed it would happen without Hubble,” Maxim explained. “Hubble has sharp images, is sensitive to weak things, and has a large enough field of view to depict the entire galaxy.”
The daily galaxy, Sam Cabot, through Harvard CfA and Hubble Site