Scientists are hoping to see what a black hole actually looks like for the first time.
For 10 days from April 5, the Event Horizon Telescope, which is made up of eight observatories at six locations across the globe, are all going to zoom in towards a point in the Milky Way where it is believed a supermassive black hole hides.
It is widely held that black holes are real, even though they’ve never been seen. By definition, black holes give off no light so astronomers have relied on the swirling behaviour of the stars around them to argue their existence.
But now scientists are hoping to see a black hole’s event horizon, which is effectively a point of no return, when the gravitational pull is so strong that it is impossible for anything to escape it, even light.
It’s that light at the edge of a black hole that scientists are hoping to capture using extremely sensitive millimetre/submillimetre arrays which should increase the resolution of the image.
However, scientists will have to sit tight when it comes to viewing the image as it could take up to six months to record and combine all the data collected by the observatories.
“We hope to see the un-seeable,” Shepard Doeleman, director of this Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), told NBC News.
“We want to see something that by its very nature tries to do everything it can not to be seen. It’s the ultimate cloaking device.”