Black hole image is for sale, know why Twitterati is angry

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 15 April 2019, 09:04 AM
Astronomers revealed the first photo of a black hole which was photographed by a network of eight telescopes across the world
Astronomers revealed the first photo of a black hole which was photographed by a network of eight telescopes across the world

Astronomers revealed the first photo of a black hole which was photographed by a network of eight telescopes across the world. Using data from six telescopes located across the world, the scientists involved in the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project imaged the Sagittarius A* -- the blackhole located at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy -- and another massive black hole 53.5 million light-year away in galaxy M87. The results were announced at 6.30 pm IST. The gravitational pull of black holes lets nothing -- not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light -- escape from inside it.

Visual China Group (VCG), China’s leading stock image provider which owns 500px uploaded the picture in its library and wrote, “this is an editorial image. Please call 400-818-2525 or consult our customer service representative for commercial use.”

Twitter soon erupted after they started owning the picture. The company later issued an apology writing: “We have taken down all non-compliant photos and closed down the site voluntarily for a revamp in accordance with related laws,” The Asian Age reported.  

Who developed the black hole image?

Katie Bouman, an MIT graduate, helped develop a computer program while still in school. Along with others, it helped create the image of the black hole. Bouman is now a postdoctoral fellow working with the Event Horizon Telescope team that released the revolutionary photograph.

“Just like how radio frequencies will go through walls, they pierce through galactic dust. We would never be able to see into the centre of our galaxy in visible wavelengths because there’s too much stuff in between,” Bouman told a portal in 2016, adding, “Taking a picture of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy is equivalent to taking an image of a grapefruit on the moon, but with a radio telescope.”

“Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed,” she later posted a picture on Facebook.

Sagittarius A* has a mass approximately four million times that of the Sun, but it only looks like a tiny dot from Earth, 26 000 light-years away.

First Published: Monday, April 15, 2019 09:04 AM
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