MOSCOW, April 10. /TASS/. A multinational group of scientists has revealed the first ever image of a black hole, located in the M87 galaxy about 53.5 million light years away.
"In April 2017, all the dishes in the Event Horizon Telescope turned and stared at a galaxy 55 million light years away called M87 and the supermassive black hole at its core, and we are delighted to be able to report to you today that we have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen and taken a picture of a black hole," Sheperd Doeleman, of Harvard University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington.
"We now have visual evidence for a black hole," he continued. "We now know that a black hole that weighs 6.5 billion times what our sun does exists in the center of M-87. This is the strongest evidence we have to date for the existence of black holes. It is also consistent … with Einstein’s predictions."
The image was received as part of the Event Horizon Telescope project, which united eight radio telescopes all over the world, including in the United States, Mexico, Chile, Spain and France. Russia did not take part in the project because it has no telescopes of the required class.
The project was launched to observe two super-massive black holes - SgrA* in the center of the Milky Way, some 26,000 light years away, and the object in the heart of the M87 galaxy (also known as Virgo A).
The observations were carried out in April 2017, but it took two years to process the data.
Discovery worthy of Nobel Prize
Vyacheslav Dokuchayev, a leading researcher at the Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences, described the project’s findings as "this year’s most prominent scientific discovery."
"The result is at the level of the Nobel Prize," he told the Ekho Moskva radio. "At last, we received a direct evidence of the existence of black holes. I think two or three people [from the team of scientists] are obvious candidates [for the Nobel Prize], this is one of the most complicated experiments in physics."
He expressed regret that Russia was not a part of the Event Horizon Telescope project.
"In order to take part in this project, a certain type of radio telescope is needed. Regretfully, Russia has no such telescopes, with a mirror of 15-20 meters in diameter," the scientist said.
Understanding the Universe
Another Russian scientist, Alexander Lutovinov, a deputy head of the Russian Space Research Institute, said the Event Horizon Telescope project proved that our concept of how the Universe works was correct.
"If astrophysics really managed to see the event horizon of a black hole - and, judging by today’s statements this is just the case - it means that our understanding of the Universe, of the Relativity Theory and physical laws is correct. This phenomenal discovery proves that our theories and our understanding of the world around us are correct," he said.
"If the information that was unveiled today will be confirmed - and so far there is no reason not to trust it - then we are witnessing a great discovery that proves the theory. We have received the first direct evidence of the existence of super-massive black holes… in centers of major galaxies," the Russian scientist added.
"Of course, it would be great if Russian scientists played major roles in similar projects," Lutovinov went on. "But achieving scientific progress and understanding how the Universe works requires powerful scientific equipment and instruments, and, therefore, serious investments are needed. So far, the Russian science cannot afford it.".