Wednesday, April 10, 2019


Hey Space Placers!

Back on land and through March Madness with my Virginia Cavaliers winning the Men's Basketball National Championship.

Huge space news today and tomorrow - private Israeli spacecraft attempting Moon landing.

Today, April 10th, 2019 will be a historic date in the history of science as it was the day humanity saw the first ever image of a supermassive black hole. Get the details here and here.

Here is M-87's supermassive black hole taken with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).

Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. Credit: Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration

This video shows you where M-87 is in the sky and takes you into the heart of the galaxy to reveal the above image: 
This zoom video starts with a view of ALMA and zooms in on the heart of M87, showing successively more detailed observations and culminating in the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole’s shadow.
Credit: ESO/L. Cal├žada, Digitized Sky Survey 2, ESA/Hubble, RadioAstron, De Gasperin et al., Kim et al., EHT Collaboration. Music: niklasfalcke

If you want to experience a breath taking ride into a supermassive black hole like M-87, go to a dark room with all of the lights off, set your computer's display to full brightness and full screen and WATCH THIS VIDEO!  IT IS STUNNING.....IT ALMOST GAVE ME VERTIGO!

This virtual reality simulation by Jordy Davelaar and colleagues shows a black hole surrounded by luminous matter. This matter disappears into the black hole in a vortex-like way, and the extreme conditions cause it to become a glowing plasma. The light emitted is then deflected and deformed by the powerful gravity of the black hole.
Credit: Jordy Davelaar et al./Radboud University/BlackHoleCam

Credits: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: P. Cote (Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics) and E. Baltz (Stanford University)
EHT also took data over a year ago on our Milky Way Galaxy's own supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). It is a 4.4 million solar mass beast at the center of our galaxy. Today I telephonically contacted Peter D. Edmonds, Public Information Officer, Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian, to ascertain the status of the Sgr A* image. 

He stated, "That's a good question. The Sgr A* EHT image work is quite complicated and it is ongoing. We currently do not have a release date for that image."

Hopefully one day we will see the image of our galaxy's resident black hole. When we do that will be another historic day.

Sky Guy in VA

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