By Nii B. Andrews
It was only this Wednesday, April 10 that for the first time ever, an international team of scientists released for all of us a picture of the unseeable – a cosmic abyss; a Black Hole.
This enigmatic object had been forecast by Einstein in his Theory of Relativity. But then even he harbored a healthy scepticism about whether black holes actually existed.
Wednesday’s historic photo shows the “event horizon,” the boundary at the edge of a black hole where the gravitational pull is so strong that no conventional physical laws apply and nothing can escape.
Heino Falcke, Professor of Astroparticle Physics and Radio Astronomy at the Radboud University Nijmegen and chair of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)Science Council said, we are “looking at a region we cannot imagine, the gates of hell, the point of no-return. To me, it’s awe-inspiring, but it’s also important for physics.”
Located 55 million light years away from the earth, it has a mass equivalent to 6.5 billion suns. It is located at the center of the Messier galaxy which is itself located in the Virgo cluster.
The immensity of the cosmos still fills us with wonder today even as it has for MILLENNIA.
In the painting directly above, the Mozambican artist, Bertina Lopes (1924 – 2012) depicts an image of the cosmos by utilising a wide range of colors overlaid with poured paint.
The impression of stars in a firmament is inescapable while the stripes and lines produce a dynamism which mirrors the change and decay in all of nature.
It is those same forces of change that produce Black holes.
They are formed from remnants of a large star that dies in a supernova explosion.
Scientists estimate there could be as many as a billion of them in our Milky Way galaxy.