A new paper, recently published by researchers from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration, which is famous for imaging M87’s central black hole, provided a series of enlightening answers.
The data comes after a range of advanced analysis of the black hole’s shadow.
The team carried out a test of general relativity according to the unusual properties of black holes and staying away from some alternatives.
The research was published in Physical Review Letters, and it was conducted by Dimitrios Psaltis, Ferial Özel, and Pierre Christian, all from the University of Arizona, and Lia Medeiros.
The colossal gravity of a black hole alters spacetime, working as a magnifying glass and changing a black hole shadow’s appearance, making it seem larger.
By analyzing that visual distortion, the research crew discovered that the size of the black hole shadow is on par with the predictions that can be made with the help of general relativity. A test of gravity at the margin of a supermassive black hole is a milestone for physics and concrete proof that Einstein’s theory holds up even under the most severe conditions.
“This is really just the beginning. We have now shown that it is possible to use an image of a black hole to test the theory of gravity.”
“This test will be even more powerful once we image the black hole in the center of our own galaxy and in future EHT observations with additional telescopes that are being added to the array,” he added.
Blackhole shadows are unlike regular shadows.
Everyday objects produce shadows by preventing light from passing through them.
A black hole, on the other hand, creates that effect by siphoning light towards itself.
Though light can’t escape from the inside of a black hole, it can escape from the region around the event horizon, depending on the trajectory.