This year marked a crucial breakthrough is black holes study – the first real image of a supermassive black hole. The Event Horizon Telescope team made that possible, and now, the astronomers predict that the first-ever supermassive black hole videos would come out in 2020.
“What I predict is that by the end of the next decade we will be making high-quality real-time movies of black holes that reveal not just how they look, but how they act on the cosmic stage,” explained Shep Doeleman, The Event Horizon Telescope director in an interview with AFP. However, the astronomer also revealed that the process would be challenging, and vast amounts of data need to be processed to come up with the first supermassive black hole videos.
Until then, the team behind the first image of a supermassive black hole, consisting of about 350 scientists, received the so-called “Oscar for Science” prize, in a value of $3 million.
Supermassive black hole videos would come out soon, and here’s how is that possible
The first image of a supermassive black hole featured the one in the center of the M87 galaxy. While it could seem more straightforward to explore the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, Sagittarius-A, the reality is different. Sagittarius-A is more turbulent than the one at the core of M87. That’s why scientists focused on that one.
“Orbits of matter around M87 take about a month to circulate. Whereas orbits around Sagittarius-A can take only half an hour, during one night of observing Sagittarius-A can change before your eyes. It could be that maybe we will make the first crude movie by 2020,” said Shep Doeleman.
According to the leader of The Event Horizon Telescope, Doeleman, we might receive the first supermassive black hole videos in 2020, but since the process behind that feat would be extremely challenging, it could take more time for the astronomers to come up with such vids.