"Rather like a black hole for dollar bills."
$28 million over 20 years is hardly breaking the bank. The US spends more than that on Viagra for veterans.
Boffins have battled cries of "but it looks like an onion ring" to show off the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow. The shadow bit is important, since imaging a black hole directly is somewhat tricky: everything gets pulled into the thing, even light. Scientists running the Event Horizon …
$28 million from an annual NSF budget of about $7.8 billion. And that's over 20 years. $1.4 million a year won't pay many salaries in this day and age, not to mention buying specialized equipment and computer time. You could probably fit all the people involved in a seminar room. A medium sized one.
Given the science that they did and the cost of the hardware (everything from hydrogen maser atomic clocks to thousands of helium-filled HDs - too much heat/friction from air-filled HDs), it's an absolute bargain.
Fantastic Horizon program on BBC 4 about this last night: How to See A Black Hole: The Universe's Greatest Mystery
There's also a series of six papers published in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Beers (just not up at telescope altitude ;) to all those involved
No not a flat earth - much more likely that the world is on the inside of a sphere, and when we look up the lights in the sky are just streetlight on the other side of the world. Scientists say their telescopes are getting better, but really there are just more streetlights. I expect they have just imaged the Diamond Light Source and got confused.
I haven't seen a labelled version of this image yet. I wonder if any of the astronomical commentards can help me? Would I be right in thinking that :-
The bright spot at 8 o'clock is caused by relativistic beaming of the part of the accretion disk heading towards us.
The dark "spot" at 2 o'clock is the accretion disk heading away from us.
The bright crescent between 3 and 6 is actually light from the underside of the disk being refracted around the black hole.
The faint red patches at 11 and 5 are relativistic jets.
Enquiring minds have been let down by the mainstream media!
(Icon is picture of person answering.)
<QUOTE>The bright spot at 8 o'clock is caused by relativistic beaming of the part of the accretion disk heading towards us.
The dark "spot" at 2 o'clock is the accretion disk heading away from us.</QUOTE>
Unless it's upside down. We probably all think that objects spin the same way regardless of where they are in space, on the same plane.
I think we've only just begun to understand some of the things about Black Holes
But, I like your thinking.
Well I, for one, don't imagine everything spins the same way on the same plane!
One news source said it span clockwise (as if that means anything).
Other sources seem to think we are looking straight down on (or up to) the accretion disk.
I am assuming the axis of rotation is 11 o'clock to 5 o'clock on the image and the "equator" of the black hole event horizon (if there is such a thing) is tipped towards us. This would make the black hole spin anti-clockwise seen from the top of the image. Furthermore, the central hole doesn't look that circular to me, 2 o'clock round to 8 o'clock looks more elliptical. I think this means it is the edge of the inside of the accretion disk?
How about it, astro-boffins?
Details from my recollection of the press conference.
We view the black hole nearly from a polar perspective. Rotation is clockwise in the image. The brighter region at roughly the bottom of the image is moving towards the observer (earth) with the darker portion moving away from the observer.
In the press conference, they mentioned a clockwise spin, and that the bright portion of the disk is moving towards the observer, while the darker portion is moving away from the observer.
For whatever reason, I was expecting a more uniform accretion disk than observed. But that's my lack of expertise showing.
I'm curious what results were considered "expected" and what was "unexpected". It's not something they delved into at the presser.
I realise I am way out of my depth here and displaying arrogant Reg Commentard omniscience about subjects of which I know bugger all, but.........
I think they are quite, quite wrong about this.
I have a 4" optical reflector somewhere in the loft. I can go and look for it if they want any assistance.
As that nice man Gove said "I think the people in this country have had enough of experts" or words to that effect.
Pah, scientists - what do they know?
Hmmm, I've had a look into this. The jet from M87 is more or less pointed in our direction, so we are more or less looking down on (up to) the accretion disk face on.
Seems like people who have been working in a field all their lives know more than some opinionated bloke on the Internet. Who knew?
The universe. Some information to help you live in it.
One: ‘Area’. Infinite. As far as anyone can make out
Two: ’Imports’. None. It’s impossible to import things into an infinite area, there being no outside to import things in from.
Three: ‘Exports’. None. See ’Imports’.
Four: ‘Rainfall’. None. Rain can not fall because in an infinite space there is no up for it to fall down from.
A: Because all energy has the property of gravity, whether free to roam or trapped in a configuration we call "matter." We don't bother acknowledging the gravity of photons as we are unable to measure it. Of course, a source of massive gravity would draw in even photons of miniscule gravity.
Q: Could the fact that all energy has gravity explain 'Dark Matter'?
A: IMHO yes, depending upon how 'Dark Matter' is defined. It's an archaic default scientist behavior to consider anything with measurable gravity to be 'matter'. That is not accurate.
Um, we have known really for a long time that light is affected by gravity. This was predicted some time in the 18th century (yes, really). One of the 'three classical tests of general relativity' is that it predicts that the deflection of light by massive bodies will be double the previously-expected value. This prediction was confirmed by Eddington in 1919.
IANAP, but my understanding is that It's not because of the mass or not of photons that light is bent by gravity, it is because the mass of objects distorts space-time, it curves space-time. And since space-time is the medium that light traverses, when space-time is curved, light follows that curve like a floating object in a whirlpool (of water) or a rolling ball in a cone-shaped object. Therefore massive object(s) like stars, black holes, dark matter, bends space-time, curves it, and light follows that bending that those massive objects - and not its own photonic mass - has created.
Just to give you an idea of scale the Solar System is about the size of the event horizon.
M87 is not just a monster, its a supermassive monster that makes Sgr A# look titchy.
Hats off to Katie Bouman, for her stack of hard drives and ingenuity in stitching together all that data.
Soon to be Nobel Laureate with any luck, and honorary "Time Lord".
Random: the gravitational field of supermassive BH's are actually gentler than those of smaller BH's so its possible
that you could actually get pretty close yet not get crushed. Of course you probably don't want to do that because
its a one way trip.
It’s a fascinating image but what’s puzzling me is why we can see inside? If the event horizon is spherical it should be surrounded by a sphere of high energy gas - yet the image appears as a cross-section. OK, it’s not actually penetrating the event horizon to show a true cross-section but it is looking through the surrounding high energy gas. Visually, we should see something similar to an extremely large star, even though we’re using radio telescopes.
Yep, that. Regardless of the black-holey-ness or size of the object, things still orbit the object in the same manner our planet (and neighbours) orbits the sun - all in roughly the same plane.
Our sun could become a black hole, and (apart from it being darker and all life on the planet ending), the planets would continue to orbit as they do today.
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