Black holes. Let’s get one thing clear. What they are is incredibly unclear. Are they matter? Antimatter? Complete vacuums devoid of space and time? Ask the average man on the street and you’ll get some varied answers. A black hole is defined as “a theoretical massive object, formed at the beginning of the universe or by the gravitational collapse of a star exploding as a supernova, whose gravitational field is so intense that no electromagnetic radiation can escape”. Furthermore, they are even more difficult to photograph than Sia.
However, following five nights of observations involving five different countries, a team of astronomers may have finally photographed one. “Even if the first images are still crappy and washed out, we can already test for the first time some basic predictions of Einstein’s theory of gravity in the extreme environment of a black hole,” explains radio astronomer Heino Falcke of The Netherlands’ Radboud University.
The existence of black holes – and that matter warps or curves the geometry of space-time as experienced through gravity – underpins Einstein’s theory of relativity. However, like a celebrity with a formidable legal team, black holes are incredibly difficult to pin down.
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