Scientists have suggested that for the first time, they may have finally captured what could end up being the first image of a black hole within the Milky Way. A team of international astronomers have been hard at work analyzing two specific areas of space located in Sagittarius A and M87 through the Event Horizon Telescope project (EHT), and have reported that they have discovered what amounts to “spectacular” data during their research, which in this case, would be the faint image of the silhouette of a black hole.
According to the Daily Mail, this image may very well prove to be “one of the most iconic ever.” The scientists involved with the EHT collaboration are currently analyzing tremendous amounts of data from 2017, and this data is set to be made public later on this year.
One of the scientists who is involved with this project has suggested that it may include a very special image, but beyond that had no further details to report. However, if scientists with the Event Horizon Telescope project do procure an image of a black hole in the Milky Way, this would be a huge breakthrough for science.
“If the project succeeds in making an image of a black hole, it would be a really big deal for the fields of physics and astrophysics. Scientists have been working towards this goal for over 20 years,” explained Professor Sera Markoff, who is a co-leader EHT’s Multiwavelength Working Group. Markoff is also a professor of theoretical astrophysics and astroparticle physics at the University of Amsterdam.
“If we get an image out of it, it will become one of the iconic images of science,” he said. “It’s an extraordinarily ambitious project.” ???? https://t.co/nIj3raLhm0— Detective Dot (@detectivedot) January 11, 2019
The results of the data taken from Sagittarius A, of course, will need to be peer-reviewed before being released this year. Professor Markoff also explained that she was unable to confirm that they had captured the first successful image of a black hole in the Milky Way until further work is conducted. However, she did state that finding black holes was an enormous task, and that her team had captured the appropriate data necessary to spot the black hole’s silhouette.
“Seeing these black holes in the sky is the equivalent of looking at the head of a pin in New York from where I’m sitting in Amsterdam. We managed to get very high-quality data at the very high resolutions necessary to observe the shadow, if it’s really there.”
So far, scientists have never actually observed a black hole, but later this year — if the EHT team’s data turns out to be correct after being peer-reviewed — the world may finally be able to see the first image of a black hole in the Milky Way.