20190422_(Translation Practice) Blackhole Photo

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Apr 22, 2019 19:17 translation TC-to-EN
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To see the unsee of the universe, an international science team announced a significant milestone in astronomical field -- the first blackhole photo in history by using a network formed by multiple telescopes around the globe. The achievement has validated a pillar of science put forward by Albert Einstein.

A blackhole, a monster-like astronomical object, has a gravitational field so fierce that no object or light can escape from it. This blurry blackhole photo shows a shining light circle of red, yellow and white surrounding the dark part of the center. The blackhole is located at the center of Messier 87, a gigantic galaxy relatively close to Virgo galaxy cluster.

The research was led by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, an international collaboration involving about 200 scientists beginning in 2012, trying to directly observe the areas near the closest blackhole. The research result was announced in simultaneous news conferences in Washington, Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo. The scientists obtained the blackhole photo with data collected during April in 2017 with 8 radio telescopes. They was settled in six different locations around the globe, equivalent to a giant telescope having a diameter of a planet size.

The result of the study team strongly supports the theory of general relativity posed in 1915 by Einstein, the famed theoretical physicist, to explain the laws of gravity and their relation to other natural forces. "We have accomplished something that was seen impossible by the last generation," said astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman, director of the Event Horizon Telescope at the Center for Astrophysics (CfA), Harvard & Smithsonian.

With its incredible density, a blackhole is different in size and very hard to observe because of its own special characteristics. Around a blackhole, there exists the so-called event horizon, a margin of no-return absorbing anything across it and eliminate its existence, regardless of stars, planets, gas, dust and all forms of electromagnetic radiation. The M87 black hole observed by the scientific team resides about 54 million light-years from Earth with a size beyond imagination. A light year is the distance that light travels in space for one year, approximately 9.5 kilometers.

The existence of blackholes was predicted in 1916 and generally expected to exist at the centers of all galaxies. However, a blackhole's trapping light has made the observation harder. Therefore, scientists look for ring-shaped light circles, formed by radiation and fragments of objects heated by high temperature circling at an extremely high speed around a dark area, which is in fact a blackhole. This is known as the black hole’s shadow or silhouette.

According to the scientists, Einstein's theory has correctly predicted the fact that the black hole’s shadow is almost a perfect circle. M87 blackhole is just 10% different from a perfect circle. Einstein was also proven true by another significant astronomy physics accomplishment published in 2016 for the observation of the existence of gravitational waves, or ripples in time and space, which is caused by the collision of two blackholes.

This project also targeted another blackhole, Sagittarius A*, located at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Scientists hold a positive view about the possibility of getting the photo of it. Perhaps within a year. Sagittarius A* possesses 4 million times the mass of our sun and is located 26,000 light-years from Earth.

Formed by subatomic particles, a jet is streamed away from M87 blackhole nearly at the speed of light though that wasn't captured by a photo. According to scientists' estimation, the black hole’s shadow of M87 is is roughly 2.5 times larger than the actual size of the event horizon due to the light bent by the extreme gravitational field. The scientists said the actual size of the event horizon is roughly smaller than 40 billion kilometers, about three times the size of Pluto’s orbit around the sun.

The researchers first collected data from telescopes in the US states of Arizona and Hawaii as well as in Mexico, Chile, Spain and Antarctica, followed by telescopes in France and Greenland.

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