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Current Affairs

NASA simulates black hole

Date: 27 September 2019 Tags: Space

Issue

NASA has for the first time developed a graphic simulation of a black hole. The simulated image is in similar lines as that of the first photographed picture of the black hole.

 

Background

The very first simulated image of a black hole, calculated using a 1960s punch card IBM 7040 computer and plotted by hand by French astrophysicist Jean-Pierre Luminet in 1978, still looks a lot like NASA's simulation.

 

Details

  • In both simulations (the new one and Luminet's work below), we see a black circle in the centre. That is the event horizon, the point at which electromagnetic radiation, light, radio waves, X-rays and so forth  are no longer fast enough to achieve escape velocity from the black hole's gravitational pull.

  • we can see the photon ring, a perfect ring of light around the event horizon.That light is actually coming from the part of the accretion disc behind the black hole but the gravity is so intense, even outside the event horizon, that it warps spacetime and bends the path of light around the black hole.

  • The black holes also produce a phenomenon known as Doppler effect where  motion produces a change in frequency in the wavelength of the light. This is because the part of the disc that is moving towards us is brighter as it is moving close to light-speed.

 

Black hole

  • A region of space having a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape.

  • Supermassive black holes sit at the centres of most large galaxies, and how they got there is a mystery.