This week we may get the first glimpse of what scientists have long been able only to theorize, calculate and simulate: the edge of a black hole. This is the so-called event horizon, beyond which even light cannot escape and where all known physical laws break down. Astronomers who have created a global network of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope are expected to release images of this elusive and inscrutable astronomical object on Wednesday morning. Such images would represent not only a major scientific accomplishment but also an opportunity to rethink the cosmos and our place in it. A black hole is the region around an extremely compact clump of matter whose intense gravitational force so powerfully distorts and warps space that you might think of it as a puncture Originally, black holes were just one mathematical solution to Einstein’s field equations of general relativity. There was no guarantee that they corresponded to real astronomical objects. Even Einstein was skeptical that they existed. But in the 1930s, the astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar showed that black holes were an inevitable consequence of a star’s death, and scientists started considering them real objects. In the 1960s, astronomers using X-ray telescopes were… Read full this story
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