EVENT HORIZON TELESCOPE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     13th February 2024        
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Context: Scientists have unveiled new details of a colossal black hole 53 million lightyears away first photographed by the earth-wide Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) in 2017. The feat provided the first visual evidence that black holes exist, confirming a fundamental prediction of general relativity.

Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)

  • About: The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a network of synchronized radio observatories worldwide.
  • Imaging Black Holes: The primary objective of the EHT is to capture detailed images of black holes.
  • Frontiers of Universe Exploration: Scientists utilize the EHT to explore new frontiers in the vast expanse of the Universe.
  • Very-Long-Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Technique: EHT observations employ VLBI, a technique that enhances angular resolution for capturing images of black holes.
  • Earth-sized Virtual Telescope: Comprising 8 telescopes globally, the EHT forms an Earth-sized virtual telescope, offering unprecedented sensitivity and resolution.
  • Globally Distributed Components: The components of the EHT are strategically distributed across the globe, creating a collaborative effort for groundbreaking astronomical observations.

Black Hole

  • Meaning: It is a cosmic body of extremely intense gravityfrom which nothing, not even light, can escape.

oA black hole can be formed by the death of a massive star

oWhen such a star has exhausted the internal thermonuclear fuels in its core at the end of its life, the core becomes unstable and gravitationally collapses inward upon itself, and the star’s outer layers are blown away.

  • Background

o1st predicted by: Albert Einstein in 1916, with his general theory of relativity.

oFirst interpretation of "black hole": By David Finkelstein in 1958, as a region of space from which nothing can escape.

oThe term "black hole" was coined: In 1967 by American astronomer John Wheeler.

oCygnus X-1: The first black hole identified by several researchers independently in 1971.

oDetection: Because light cannot get out, black holes are invisible and can only be tracked with the help of spatial telescopes.

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