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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Peering At Space-Time

Peering At Space-Time

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, September 26, 2019/Categories: natural history, video, space science, art and design, adventure

     Various features of the black hole animation.(credits: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman)

Even the giant of 20th Century physics, Albert Einstein, thought black holes were improbable even as his Theory of General Relativity predicted them in 1915. They remained only theoretical objects until 1971 when the first black hole was discovered providing proff for Einstein's theory. The first actual image of a black hole was captured this year in a galaxy thousands of lightyears distant. The photograph gained worldwide acclaim. Now, NASA's Goddard Space Center has taken the raw measurements acquired from the deep-space observations of the event horizon and created a data visualizatjon of what the black hole would look like if you were approaching the vortex.


                         Black Hole Data Visualization (credits: Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman)

According to NASA's announcement, the black hole is seen nearly edgewise in their visualization with a turbulent disk of gas churning around it with a double-humped appearance. The black hole’s extreme gravity alters the paths of light coming from different parts of the disk, producing the warped image. The gravitational field redirects and distorts light coming from different parts of the disk, but exactly what is seen depends on the viewing angle. Goddard's Jeremy Schnittman, the creator of the  animation said:

"Simulations and movies like these really help us visualize what Einstein meant when he said that gravity warps the fabric of space and time. Until very recently, these visualizations were limited to our imagination and computer programs. I never thought that it would be possible to see a real black hole."

On April 10, 2019 the Event Horizon Telescope captured a black hole’s shadow at the heart of the M87 galaxy and provided the data now visualized for everyone to view.



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