Science The first-ever photo of a black hole released today - get hyped

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The yellow/red parts are actually from something behind it.
I was watching the press conference where they explained the image. They were talking about how the yellow and red parts are the super-heated matter around it, matter that is traveling close to the speed of light. Interesting point that was brought up is that the bight part at the bottom is from matter that's rotating towards us, while the dimmer parts are from matter rotating away from us. It's interesting because this let the astronomers determine the black hole is rotating clockwise.
 
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RomanesEuntDomus

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thought it would look more like well a black hole
View attachment 721099
That would be the black hole without the accretion disc.

We have an image of the single most destructive force in the universe, so strong in fact that we currently have nothing that could even compare to its power, which is such a massive "fuck you" to physics as we know it, bending space-time into a knot, that the black part that we see of it is actually a projection of its surface area, repeated infinetely, seen from all angles simultaneously, while matter is circling it at half the speed of light, at a temperature in the millions of degrees celsius... and people call that boring or unspectacular.
Unfortunately, we can't see the tiny sphere surrounding the black hole where light is in a somewhat stable orbit.

I was watching the press conference where they explained the image. They were talking about how the yellow and red parts are the super-heated matter around it, matter that is traveling close to the speed of light. Interesting point that was brought up is that the bight part at the bottom is from matter that's rotating towards us, while the dimmer parts are from matter rotating away from us. It's interesting because this let the astronomers determine the black hole is rotating counter clockwise.
It's also interesting to not that even if we looked edge-on at the accretion disc, we'd still see its underside and the upper side due to the light being bended by the black hole.
 
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and people call that boring or unspectacular.
While I think this is a fantastic step forward for science, and a pretty neat image, given the amount of hype around this, I wholly think this is underwhelming and unspectacular.

The problem with hyping science to dumb people like me is that the end product is always - always - fucking lame. This looks like something I could see if I was shitfaced at dunkin donuts at 2am.

Important image? Yes. Impressive? Only to those that are interested. Spectacular? No, absolutely not. Science is terrible at marketing.
 

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Lol I don't know what people were expecting, but it looks exactly as I thought it would. It's not in the middle of a belch which I think is the more interesting part. That's how most black holes were viewed is with the energy expulsion along the axis. It's pretty cool you can see the warping along the event horizon.

So it's a shadow, they say? So black holes can cast shadows? I mean, they're collapsed stars so there's a physical, perhaps tangible mass there, and there's known rogue black holes just roaming through space, but still. That means there is something in there, it's not just a giant hole in space where nothing exists. Something's in there.
 

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Not gonna say this ain't important, but it's not something that is "OMG SO GROUNDBREAKING!". It will be treated as such because

721278


wahmen.

All the "omg i fucking luv science" wahmen of twitter are congratulating each other for this amazing discovery they all did together.

"OMG I DID A SCIENCY GUYS!"
721280
 
Lol I don't know what people were expecting, but it looks exactly as I thought it would. It's not in the middle of a belch which I think is the more interesting part. That's how most black holes were viewed is with the energy expulsion along the axis. It's pretty cool you can see the warping along the event horizon.

So it's a shadow, they say? So black holes can cast shadows? I mean, they're collapsed stars so there's a physical, perhaps tangible mass there, and there's known rogue black holes just roaming through space, but still. That means there is something in there, it's not just a giant hole in space where nothing exists. Something's in there.
Well... yeah. Black holes are so much stuff crammed in so small a place that the force of gravity is overcoming other forces that keep atoms from crunching together into a mass of neutrons. It's never been considered as a literal hole in space. When they were first theorized they were much the same idea as they are now, basically a star goes nova, collapses, and if the balances of masses and various forces work out, it goes crunch and that matter that was previously the volume of a star is now a very, very tiny volume (We have no idea what size, or even if it can be said to have a size at all. This is where the problem of the incompatibility between relativity and traditional physics crops up).

This is what people are talking about when they call a black hole a singularity. It's a singularity because you've got all that mass packed into one single point in space. Try to do any calculation with a 0 dimensional object though, and it's just gonna give nonsense answers like infinity or divide by zero.

But as for shadows, those aren't being cast by the mass in the black hole. Or at least, not in the direct way most shadows are cast. The light that hits the mass inside the black hole isn't coming back out, but nor is the light that just misses the mass. Again, we have no idea what size that mass is or even if it can be said to have a size at all, but unlike shadows, created by the blocking of light by an object, what you'd get here would be a completely dark center at whatever the distance from the mass still has strong enough gravity to trap the light, along with a shitload of light that got its path severely warped from passing close by. So it's really more of a lens effect than a shadow.

The distinction being a shadow lets us know how big the thing is casting the shadow. A lens lets us know how big the lens is, but doesn't really tell us the details within.
 
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but it's not something that is "OMG SO GROUNDBREAKING!".
It really is groundbreaking though. It has once and for all proven the existence of black holes, and has proven Einstein's theories even more so. On top of that, it proved the efficacy of using the their telescope arrangement to see things unimaginably far away at a great resolution compared to other techniques, not to mention that getting a picture of this black hole is the equivalent to trying to get a picture of an apple on the surface of the moon from the earth in terms of its size. It's impressive, especially considering that the scientists are now planning on taking measures to get an even higher resolution photo. This was just a proof of concept if anything.

And besides, what's wrong with MIT celebrating a grad student's involvement in this? What's wrong with said person being thrilled they contributed to something groundbreaking? Yeah there's going to be the inevitable SJW circlejerk on Twitter, but the images you posted only show a university and a scientist who are happy about their involvement and contributions. This is going to be treated as groundbreaking because it is.
 
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