Even without a telescope, it's possible to look off the summit of Mauna Kea and see, 14,000 feet below and dozens of miles in the distance, wide swaths of rain forest touching the whitecapped Pacific. Down there, people are doing what people come to Hawaii to do: hiking to waterfalls, lying in the sand, exposing their skin to tropical solar radiation. Up here, there is no vegetation, no warmth and very little atmosphere. And as the sun sets over the parabolic aluminum dishes of the Submillimeter Array observatory, it's time to work.
Sheperd Doeleman, the 45-year-old MIT researcher in charge of tonight's experiment, is setting up a piece of the radio telescope that, if all goes well, will synchronize with other radio telescopes in California and Arizona to observe matter on the verge of disappearing into a black hole. Doeleman and his counterparts on the mainland are using a technique called very long baseline interferometry to simulate a much larger instrument, which they call the Event Horizon Telescope. The longer the baseline, the higher the resolution, so these astronomers have for the past decade or so been hauling their delicate and expensive hand-built equipment to remote sites around the world, installing it anew for each observation. The work is highly improvisational, but to see what they want to see, there is no other way.
Outside the Submillimeter Array's control-room windows, patches of snow speckle the summit. The storm that deposited them several days ago has since traveled 2,500 miles east, where it has been blocking all observation at the station in California, thus delaying the whole observing run. Things are going better tonight. Or at least they're starting to. "It looks like we're actually recording something," Doeleman says. "Which is nice."
"The Mark 5Bs are recording," says Nicolas Pradel, a postdoctoral researcher from Taiwan's Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics. The Mark 5B recorders are connected to the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope next door, which is contributing its 15-meter dish to tonight's effort. "The Mark 5Cs"—the newest, highest-bandwidth recorders, and the ones hooked up to the Submillimeter Array—"are not."
Doeleman, a slight man with a runner's build, sprints out of the room and runs downstairs, where the recorders are installed. A few minutes later, he darts back into the control room, panting in the thin mountain air. He sits back down at his computer, pounds out a few keystrokes and mumbles something technical and reassuring to the postdocs and telescope operators. The recorders appear to be working.
Sagittarius A* (pronounced "A-star"), the four-million-solar-mass black hole at the center of the Milky Way. After that, with encouragement from colleagues, Doeleman decided that peering deeper into the galactic center, deep enough to actually take a picture of the very edge of Sagittarius A*, was not as implausible as it sounds. Detectors were becoming more sensitive every year; data storage and processing power had never been so cheap. If he could add the right telescopes to his network, taking a picture of Sagittarius A* should be, as Doeleman puts it, "eminently doable."Three arrays is just a start. Doeleman and his cohort have been operating this same network of radio telescopes since 2007, when they pointed the array at the galactic center and detected "structure on the event-horizon scale," a deeply obscured blip in space whose dimensions match the predicted size of
Over the next few years, Doeleman says, he and his group will combine as many as a dozen of the world's most sophisticated radio-astronomy installations to create "the biggest telescope in the history of humanity"—a virtual dish the size of Earth, with 2,000 times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. Tonight the Event Horizon Telescope astronomers have a more limited goal: They want to catch as much light from Sagittarius A* as possible and study its polarization to learn about the black hole's magnetic field. But eventually (if all goes well) astronomers using the fully scaled-up Event Horizon Telescope—a machine with resolution high enough to read the date on a quarter from 3,000 miles away—will see the silhouette of an object that is, in itself, unseeable.
I've always found black holes amazing. The fact that gravity becomes so strong that not even light can escape it to be more exact. Even more amazing is the "singularity" proposed to be at it's center. If gravity is acceleration wouldn't the fact that light cannot escape be evidence of that light being accelerated past the speed of light. Perhaps describing it as a singularity is easier than explaining what happens when the cosmic speed limit is broken. Or maybe it isn't as hard as it seems?
Black holes are the swiss cheese of the cosmos slowly turning itself outside in, to another cosmos! It not that we can not see the light leaving the black hole, but the light actually being redirected to another reality!
Oh not to forget. In the other cosmos, all the scientist are busy trying to prove that 'light matter' really does exist and is what most of the cosmos is made of, but no true light matter has been found as of yet.
Perhaps the light matter you refer to is actually dark matter and the other cosmos you refer to is really just hidden within our own.
You discovered my little topsy turvy inside out reality, lol. You win a cookie, take care. ;)
so help me understand this... If energy cannot dissappear, then doesnt that mean that the light has to go somewhere? Or does it stay in the black hole? sorry for the lack of knowledge, but asking is eventually knowing!!!
you know, i honestly believe science is like religion, everything is speculation, everything in science is a theory.
Technically, nothing ever reaches the singularity, or the center of the black hole. If the theory of black holes is correct, then as you get closer to the black hole, time slows down. Also note that the singularity is a single point in the center of the black hole, dimensionless (except for mass). So, as you get closer to the point, time slows down further, gravity pulls more, and as you fall even closer, time slows down more... So, when you reach the singularity, you theoretically should have spent an infinite amount of time to get there.
But onto the question:
"If energy cannot dissappear, then doesnt that mean that the light has to go somewhere?"
As stated above, the light can NEVER reach the singularity! That means it is always a certain height from the center, which we can call "h". When it is that distance away, the potential energy it has is -G(M*m)/h, which is
-6.67300*(10^-11)*(m^3)*(kg^-1)*(s^-2)*(M*m)/h. Though the gravitational constant is small, and the mass of a neutrino is also small, h gets closer and closer to zero as you approach the black hole, and eventually it becomes infinitely small, which means the potential energy becomes infinitely large...
Anyways, you get my point. The energy is still there, in a different form and *****TRAPPED IN TIME*****. So yea. That's my little spiel.
Sources: AP Physics BC, Research Project on Black Holes
Trapped in time. But what time? Isn't time its own dimension? One we pass through at a rate relative to our speed through space. Being trapped in time couldn't the energy(information) interact through gravity though hidden across time in a manner that only weakly interacts if at all with our own relative frame of reference?
On another note isn't a singularity with infinite potential energy what created our observable and unobservable universe?
If @ultraeric is correct, and one were to dive head first into a black hole, not doing the whirlpool style entrance, would you possibly speed up? Going around and around the black hole might cause the slowdown, even taking into account centrifugal. But diving straight down the wormhole, could all the gravity swirling around you force you to go faster, not slower?
And 10USMC75, science is only a religion if you let it be. DO you put your faith in the hard wire facts, or in what you think is true?
Religion is only a matter of perspective, as is the entire universe.
Robot, I actually have a theory that could prove the existence of other cosmos, just not as extravagant as you put it.
There is a theory out there that there was a primordial, primitive form of matter BEFORE the big bang, and that the big bang was nothing but a breaking point when all this matter accidentally accumulated. I have an adaptation to this.
I say that all the above was as it was, but the big bang simply drew in a hell of a lot of this proto-matter (work with me), becoming the first instance of gravity, a type of gravitational bomb.
Now if we say that the universe is eternal, and that this proto-matter is the same, then, theoretically, there could be an eternal number of these "micro-verses", or "nano-verses".
The larger the bang, the more of this proto-matter gets sucked in, so our cosmos might be a tiny one or a super-massive one.
Why can we not see these other verses? No idea. It might be because of some kind of dark matter shielding. It could be the same reason these verses don't collide and destroy everything. And why the verse is slowing down, we are hitting the barrier.
And I'm still in high school, just to blow all of your minds.
I have compresion and expansion components for fluctiions in atmospheric pressures. No worries, my componets of your news flash I am intact.
Its Ironic that a photon(light) does not have mass which is why they move freely across space and time unlike its other subatomic couterparts still gets trapped in blackhole which is said to be of possessing very high gravitational force(acts only on matters having mass).
AHAHAHHA! @TeslasDisciple, he believes in that pathetic big bang theory. Explain to me how an explosion could create life. So if I blow up your house, I will create new life?
@robot, I find your comment very humorous, the amps jumped a few times on the reader.
@TH3B34ST, Life did not evolve because of the big bang, life evolved in the chaos that was early Earth. The big bang simply made the canvas that life grew on.
@cosmicdust, that is why black holes are so d4mn cool!!!!
I have heard that Black holes sometimes throw out large beams of gamma after they have swalloed large quantity of matter. If that is the case, how come those gamma beams break the event horizon and not light?
If not light itself, which is a wave and a particle, can escape a black hole, why can gravitons (gravity)?
How about magentiscm, do black holes have a north and south pole?
Time is not independent of space. They are intertwined in this reality.
The origin of the big bang is unknown but current quantum theory states clearly one possibility: The nothingness we associate with the vacuum of space seethes with particles which appear and disappear continually. Their life is measured billionths/ trillionth/ or on a Planck scale of seconds. Quantum theory also states the randomness of these events eventually produce a mass creation of particles from this zero state into a big bang event.
Richard Feynman postulated and applied math as proof, the energy in the nothingness is very very very large.
Following that logic, our universe is only one of an infinite number of universes
This is poorly stated by a layman but the basics are consistent. Nor can I argue this point with any scientific underpinning as the math is beyond me.
Traveling into a black hole becomes an exercise in Zeno's Paradox. Time slows as velocity and or gravity increase. At the speed of light, time essentially stops and mass (gravity) approaches the infinite. So the particles never reach the singularity or so it is said.
Lastly Gamma radiation associated with black holes does not originate from within the event horizon but from the accretion disk circling the drain, so to speak. Thus no violation of the statement that nothing escapes a black hole.
So if mass goes to infinite at a point, wouldnt it implode in on itself?
I think time is cyclical. Time dilation from the extreme environment of a black hole not only slows time for all matter that passes the event horizon, but sends it back to the moment of the big bang, the beginning of all time. That is how the big bang happened all across the vast expanse of space in the void of the universe simultaneously, every singularity in the universe exploded all at once with the matter that enters every black hole in existence. Just a theory anyway :)
I think mass inside black holes already are imploded. The gravity is so strong that each atom is packed up at each other without any space in between them.
Stars implode on themselves when the explosive reactions inside dimminish slightly, because then the gravity force is stronger than the exanding force of the reaction. Greater the weight of the star, the greater the implosion; and the largest one create black holes.
Just a short comment to finally find a comment board where there aren't users trying to impress their political ideology upon others, or trying to inflame others, or being racist, bigoted, or otherwise rude. Kudos to PopSci commentors!!
You just havent been here long enough... give it time.
To beleive in science you have to believe in theory,truthfuly nobody knows hardly anything because there is so much to lear,we are all young pups that aren't dumb or stupid we are all just ingorant.All of you might think you know sooooo much but really we all know hardly anything.
sorry for the spell mishaps
Guess everthing we know is wrong, ENJOY!
Please let me know your opinions! Thanks
To TeslasDisciple:universe is not a closed system .hence energy can be created and destroyed too.light is just a slice of electromagnetic spectrum and can be destroyed and created , created when electrons jump from higher energy states tolower energy states within an atom and destroyed when electrons are ionized and destroyed in a black hole situation or entering back into quantum vacuum . Even vacuum are creations of energy vibrations .
As far as "life" is concerned it is nothing but analogical to "information" ,(and not to electromagnetism) . both information and life-energy are continuous as energy waves and not discrete or digital as matter 'particles" or grainy like space-time fabric.For life-energy manifests in our four dimensional space-time manifold through matter just like light manifests through matter ( by processes like reflection,refraction,diffraction, polarization etc ).microbial life-forms ( carbon life forms and arsenic life forms etc) exist and survive almost everywhere in space that we have been able to explore even in the surface of the sun and in cold empty space on comets and viruses lie dormant in deep space itself.The origin of life is NOT earth or any primordial soup .Life has been there and everywhere more like "information" .the strength of this analogy is that even in black hole life could exist and survive since information is one thing which the black hole cannot destroy like any other matter or matter-energies . Leaking out gamma rays from black holes carry "information" and hence life too !. Like information ,life is the very fundamental essence and basic ingredient of the universe and NOT matter-based at all. Even space and time are creations of matter ,but not life and information. Got it ?