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Immensely deep, dense, and powerful, black holes are one of the strangest yet astonishing entities in outer space. Their force reveals the limit of physics, as nothing can run off their grasp, not even light. 

Albert Einstein initially predicted the presence of black holes in space in 1916 based on this theory of relativity. However, it was only in 1967 when John Wheeler, an American astronomer, coined the term ‘black hole’ for the said identity. Four years later, what only used to be an object in theories and concepts was physically spotted and discovered in 1971.

While they have been a subject of science for so long, truth to be told, no one has actually seen a black hole for long. It’s impossible to see black holes using the naked eye or a telescope as their tremendous gravitational pull does not permit light to escape. Scientists only heard or studied the based on the gravitational waves emitted by these black holes that crashed onto each other a few billions of years ago.

But, we started seeing what deemed to be unseeable. In 2019, EHT, or the Event Horizon Telescope, release the first-ever recorded photograph of a black. It was seen at the core of galaxy M87 as it was scanning through the event horizon or the area in a black hole where it pulls up everything. The image displays a quick loss of light particles. 

Such a feat provides a new dimension about our knowledge about black holes, given that astronomers now know how these incredible entities appear.

With the image captured by the EHT, we can infer that black holes have three layers, namely the outer event horizon, the inner event horizon, and the singularity. The first two are the borders around the black hole’s mouth lying on the area where light can no longer run. Once any particle or entity, it can no longer escape its immense gravitational pull. The innermost core is called the singularity where the black hole’s mass lies or is concentrated. 

Astronomers and scientists don’t study black holes the same way they would do on other objects in space. They depend on researching on the radiations emanating from the black holes as they suck up gases and dust. However, there are super-sized black holes that sit at the center of a galaxy which accumulated thicker stretch of gases and dust, obstructing the detection of the radiations.

However, there are also instances when an entity is sucked up, it recoils off in the event horizon and is snapped back outwards rather than being absorbed into oblivion. Thus, it produces bright stretches of materials traveling at high speeds. While the black hole remains unseen per se, these powerful stretches are what seen in outer space even if they’re from distant galaxies.

The image captured by the Event Horizon Telescope of a black hole in the M87 galaxy is an incredible undertaking, that needed an immense amount of effort and research. Not to mention the large amount of data needed for the images to be transferred from the telescope across many space stations and to us. Nevertheless, astronomers and scientists hope to see more images of other black holes in space. Soon enough, they are targeting to witness the intriguing and quieter than usual Sagitarrius A, a black hole lying in the center our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

More Readings

Black Holes (Wikipedia)

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