The Event Horizon Telescope project plans to reveal the first-ever images of a black hole, and the global group of researchers working on the project have something very big to show the world this week.
Astronomers have announced that they will reveal the first-ever photographic image of a black hole on Wednesday.
"This capability would open a new window on the study of general relativity in the strong field regime, accretion and outflow processes at the edge of a black hole, the existence of event horizons, and fundamental black-hole physics", the EHT project wrote in their description.
Concurrent announcements are set to occur in Tokyo, Brussels, Taipei, Santiago, and Shanghai, according to the EHT website.
Because light can not escape the gravitational pull of a black hole, it is virtually impossible to image or photograph one.
For how much astronomers know about black holes - it's a lot, trust me - it's a bit of a shock that mankind has never actually seen one.
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project was launched in April, 2017.
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To conduct their discoveries, the EHT looked at two supermassive black holes: Sagittarius A* at the center of our Milky Way galaxy and M87, at the center of nearby galaxy Virgo A.
Wednesday news conference is expected to provide the first image of Sagittarius A* shadow on its accompanying disk of bright material. At the center of most galaxies lies a supermassive black hole, which can have a mass billions of times greater than that of the sun, all crammed in a relatively small volume.
The research will put to the test a scientific pillar - physicist Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, according to University of Arizona astrophysicist Dimitrios Psaltis, project scientist for the Event Horizon Telescope.
The EHT's other target, M87, is notable for shooting out a fast jet of charged subatomic particles that stretches for some 5 000 light years.
While nothing can escape the gravitational vortex of a black hole - not even light - gas and radiation rage in a swirling eddy around the brink of the abyss. After a black hole forms, it continues to grow by absorbing mass from its surroundings. Since then, telescopes in France and Greenland have been added to the network.
Einstein's theory, if correct, should allow for an extremely accurate prediction of the size and shape of a black hole.
"The shape of the shadow will be nearly a flawless circle in Einstein's theory", Psaltis stated, adding, "If we find it to be different than what the theory predicts, then we go back to square one and we say, 'Clearly, something is not exactly right", cited Reuters.