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Greek scientist among team that captured stunning Black Hole picture

A Greek scientist, Professor of Astronomy and Physics at the University of Arizona, Dimitris Psaltis played a key role in the new Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), that captured these stunning pictures of the huge black hole that were revealed on Wednesday.

Astronomers have taken the first ever image of a black hole, which is located in a distant galaxy

The monstrous black hole in the Messier 87 galaxy has a diameter of about 40 billion kilometers, that is three million times larger than the Earth.

The black hole, scientists describe as a “monster” is at a distance of 500 million trillion kilometers and was photographed by a network of eight telescopes across the world.

Prof Heino Falcke, of Radboud University in the Netherlands, who proposed the experiment, said “what we see is larger than the size of our entire Solar System.”

“It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists. It is an absolute monster, the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe.”

The image shows an intensely bright “ring of fire”, as Prof Falcke describes it, surrounding a perfectly circular dark hole. The bright halo is caused by superheated gas falling into the hole. The light is brighter than all the billions of other stars in the galaxy combined – which is why it can be seen at such distance from Earth.

The edge of the dark circle at the centre is the point at which the gas enters the black hole, which is an object that has such a large gravitational pull, not even light can escape.

“We still have to find out how the light is generated,” Falcke said.

For the first time at such an astrophysical scale, Psaltis and his team were assigned with the task to find out whether the black hole pictures would verify Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.

For this purpose, they developed the relevant “tests” and concluded that Einstein was once again justified, as the black hole image eventually fits well with the simulations that preceded it on the basis of the theory.

Immediately after today’s announcement, the Greek astrophysicist said:

“The EHT Telescope for the first time allowed us to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity about super-large black holes in galaxy centers. The size and shadow of the black hole {as pictured at the M87 galaxy) confirms the accurate predictions of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, thus increasing our confidence in this one-century-old theory. The depiction of a black hole is just the beginning of our effort to develop new tools that will allow us to interpret the extremely complex nature of nature. ”

The 49-year-old scientist was born in Serres, North Greece, and stydied Physics at the University of Thessaloniki. He moved to the USA for post-graduate studies in 1997. He has been teaching at the University of Arizona since 2003.

sources: Greek media, BBC

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