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.
ultraeric seems to have captured the standard theory of black-hole singularities as I learned it, based on general relativity.
And kirbang seems to have carried reasoning further to its natural conclusion based on the quantum theory of spontaneous formation and disappearance of particles in "empty" space that I've heard of.
But what I find curious and puzzling is how a black-hole "singularity" forms and evolves. As matter coalesces before the singularity is formed, does the singularity suddenly come into existence in an instant? Or does the formation merely approach becoming a singularity over an infinite period of time but never actually achieves singularity in a finite time? Also if there is actually a singularity, does there have to be, in effect, matter "at" the singularity? Or does _all_ matter that has fallen through the even horizon merely approach the singularity for ever and ever?
Also, it is often said that no information can come out of a black hole simply because nothing, not even light, can come out of through the event horizon.
But it seems to me that this statement is not true simply because the curvature of space outside of the even horizon is a measure of the amount of matter within the even horizon. So the measure of the curvature of space outside the event horizon tells you something about what is below the event horizon.
Einstein was apparently very enamored with the idea that a single unified mathematical theory could describe the dynamic laws of the universe in their entirety with ultimate, _exact_ precision. That idea seems to be a metaphysical concept of the universe that can never be verified empirically. But conceivably it could motivate an improved theory of the universe.
On the other hand, I can imagine a personified physical universe saying, "Ha Ha Ha, you theoretical physicists are all a joke. You will never capture the true sense of my being. Your artificial invention of mathematics is simply too feeble to capture my true sense. All you can do is to approximate my behavior. There will always be exceptions of one sort or another to the so-called laws that you discover. In fact, it is impossible for you to ever know that you have captured my true sense, even if capturing my true sense were possible."
The void itself exists out of nothingness, maybe therefor a black hole maybe it's opposit existing out of matter. Those two might work together.
Think the edge of the universe is sourrounded by some sort op athmosphere...
I dont think you try and understand it as something really complicated but more like something that is build of and using extreme symplicity, extreme logic.
This based on imagination though but hey, thats what encircles the earth.
i think the way james dyson is going with his ever increasingly powerful suction on his dyson cleaners that before long he will invent the black hole again........
@teslasdisciple "And I'm still in high school, just to blow all of your minds."
I'm so impressed that as a teenager you can form your own complex ideas and theories about the world aroud you...oh wait, humans start doing that at ages much younger than yourself. The fact that you're so arrogant about your "knowledge" only emphasizes your immaturity.
You could try to be like ultraeric and put some actual science into your theories...that may help your cause.
If you can't tell, people who label themselves as "mind blowing" get on my nerves. haha
One question I have is, if light has no mass then how is it possible that it gets sucked into a black hole? How can gravity affect something that has no mass?
@nor-cal ninja, thats what i have asked for in my earlier comment, seems einstein contradicts his theory