(CNN) The first photo taken of the black hole now looks a little sharper.
Originally published in 2019Unprecedented Historic image of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy captures an essentially invisible celestial object Using live imaging.
The image presented the first direct visual evidence of the existence of black holes, showing a central dark region surrounded by a ring of light that appeared brighter on one side. Astronomers have nicknamed the object the “fuzzy, orange doughnut.”
Now, scientists have used machine learning to render the image as a “skinny” donut with a neater update, the researchers said. In the new image, the central region is dark and massive, surrounded by a bright ring, as hot gas falls into the black hole.
In 2017, astronomers set out to observe the invisible heart of the massive galaxy Messier 87, or M87, near the constellation Virgo, 55 million light-years from Earth.
The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, known as EHT, is a global network of telescopes that captured the first photo of a black hole. More than 200 researchers worked on the project for more than a decade. The scheme is named after the event horizon, a proposed boundary around a black hole where no light or radiation can escape.
To capture the image of the black hole, scientists combined the power of seven radio telescopes around the world using very long-baseline-interferometry, the European Southern Observatory, which is part of the EHT. This sequence Effectively creating a virtual telescope around the size of the Earth.
‘Maximum resolution’ is achieved
The original observational data from 2017 was combined with a machine learning technique to capture the full resolution of what the telescopes had seen for the first time. A new, detailed image has been released, along with a study On Thursday Astrophysical Journal Letters.
“With our new machine learning technique PRIMO, we were able to achieve the highest resolution of the current sequence,” said lead study author Leah Medeiros. Princeton, New Jersey, in a statement.
“Because we can’t study black holes up close, the detail of an image plays an important role in our ability to understand their behavior. The width of the ring in the image is now twice as small, and that’s a powerful constraint for our theoretical models and gravity experiments.”
Medeiros and other EHT members developed principal-component interferometric modeling, or PRIMO. Algorithms rely on dictionary learning, in which computers generate rules based on large sets of objects. If a computer is given a series of images of different bananas, combined with some training, it can detect whether an unknown image contains a banana or not.
Computers using PRIMO analyzed more than 30,000 high-resolution simulated images of black holes to pick out common structural details. This allowed machine learning to fill in the gaps of the original image.
“PRIMO is a new approach to the difficult task of creating images from EHT observations,” said astronomer Todd Lauer of the National Science Foundation’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory. NOIRLab. “This provides a way to compensate for missing information about the observed object, which is required to produce an image that can be seen using a massive Earth-sized radio telescope.”
Advancing research on black holes
Black holes are made up of a large amount of matter squeezed into a small area NASA, creates a massive gravitational field that attracts everything around it, including light. These powerful celestial events have a way of heating the material around them and altering space-time.
Matter accumulates around black holes, heating them to billions of degrees and reaching almost the speed of light. Light bends around the black hole’s gravitational pull, creating the photon ring seen in the image. The shadow of the black hole is represented by the dark central region.
Visual confirmation of black holes also serves as confirmation Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. In theory, Einstein predicted that the densest, most compact regions of space would have a gravitational pull so intense that nothing could escape it. But if hot material in the form of plasma surrounds the black hole and emits light, the event horizon is visible.
The new image will help scientists measure the black hole’s mass more precisely. Researchers can use PRIMO for other EHT observations A black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.
“The 2019 film is just the beginning,” Medeiros said. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, the data underlying that picture has many more stories to tell. PRIMO will continue to be an important tool in extracting insights.”