April 10 (UPI) — An international team of scientists is expected to share the first images of a supermassive black hole captured by the Event Horizon Telescope on Wednesday morning.
During a press conference, researchers with the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration will present a “groundbreaking result,” according to a press release.
The collaboration involved the efforts of astronomers from all over the globe. Multiple teams worked to coordinate the observations of eight radio telescopes using Very Long Baseline Interferometry.
“This technique of linking radio dishes across the globe to create an Earth-sized interferometer, has been used to measure the size of the emission regions of the two supermassive black holes with the largest apparent event horizons,” according to EHT.
Six press conferences will be held simultaneously by involved teams of astronomers in Brussels, Belgium; Santiago, Chile; Shanghai, China; Taipei, Taiwan; and Tokyo. In the United States, scientists with the National Science Foundation will present the Event Horizon Telescope’s groundbreaking result at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The press conferences will be streamed live beginning at 9 a.m. ET.
For the EHT project, scientists used the combined eight telescopes to image Sagittarius A, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, and the supermassive black hole at the center of M87, a supergiant elliptical galaxy located 53 million light-years away.
Black holes are regions of spacetime where gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape it.
Dong Lai, a black hole expert and a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, predicts the images released during Wednesday’s space conference will offer an unprecedented look at the two black holes’ event horizons.
“These are images of radiating hot gas orbiting very close to the black hole,” Lai, who is not involved in the EHT project, said in a news release. “The strong gravity — the ‘event horizon’ — of black holes creates a dark shadow with a distinct shape where no light can be seen.”