Black holes have long been the enigma of space. Even though scientists know they exist and can measure their effects, they have never actually been able to see one.
This might be ready to change, as astronomers are coming up with new technology that will allow them to view black holes as they never have before. This technology will allow them to create an image of the area immediately around a black hole. This could theoretically allow them to take pictures of the environment around a black hole and perhaps even view the shadow of a black hole.
One of the reasons that black holes are so hard to see is that they are a long ways away. In fact, the closest black hole is about 26,000 light years away from Earth, which is why astronomers have had such a hard time spotting one. The first target on the list is Sagittarius A, a black hole that is located at the center of the Milky Way. Since it is the closest, Sagittarius A will be the first target of this ambitious endeavor, which astronomers are calling the Event Horizon Telescope.
The way the Event Horizon Telescope, often referred to as the EHT, will work is by using a combination of images taken from around the world. It will take telescopic observations from the United States, France, Chile, Mexico, the South Pole and Greenland and then combine them into one high-resolution image. This type of high res image is usually only possible using one image from a single telescope. This should allow astronomers to get a more detailed understanding of the environment that immediately surrounds a black hole.
However, harnessing all of these images will not be easy, as scientists will have to coordinate the observations with specialized computing algorithms and supercomputers. It will also take the use of extremely accurate clocks that will be needed to accommodate for the time differences between the various locations.
Since black holes are some of the most extreme and mysterious objects in the universe, astronomers hope that this new technology will help shed more light on the bizarre physics found at the heart of a black hole. Astronomers believe that they might even be able to learn more about how the Earth was originally created, which would be one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of modern times. The Event Horizon Telescope could drastically change our understanding of the universe.