After doing some chores around the house today and before going out for groceries (I always have Wednesdays off work), I sat down for a little breather and switched on the TV news. Just starting was a press conference that was being held about the first ever black hole picture. Now, I am not scientifically minded at all and I know next to nothing about astronomy, but the excitement at this news conference was so palpable, I was sucked in. The world was presented with this image:
This is apparently a supermassive black hole surrounded by a ring of gas in a distant galaxy far far away. From what I understand, this proves that Einstein’s black hole theory was correct. This BBC news item describes it all way better than I ever could. Science theory (and fiction in a way) has become science fact! How very cool is that? I wish we had a Captain Picard who could go and explore for us.
Apparently the black hole in our own galaxy is harder to discover but the existence of black holes now seems to be proven. This really is pretty exciting stuff! And what is extra beautiful to me is how this has been achieved with people and organizations all over the world working together. An organisation called Event Horizon Telescope was formed with this aim in mind, to work together internationally and study black holes together. With all the focus in the news nowadays on egomaniac policies and politicians, this news is such a breath of fresh air.
And now for the past few hours, I’ve had this Muse song ghosting around in my head…
I think my older scientist sister, who now works as a computer programmer, but who has also studied chemistry at uni, has always been fascinated by astronomy and actually understands all of what Einstein’s theory of relativity is about, will be over the moon excited by this news. Heck, even I am excited now. 🙂