Baidu or China’s version of Google has published a ‘doodle’ to commemorate the release of The Event Horizon Telescopes image of the black hole M87 today. The cute illustration shows a cheerful blackhole peering down at the edge of the Earth.
Drawn in a sweet naive style the doodle sums up the excitement felt by many in the scientific community about today's black hole reveal. The image of the black hole was captured by the black hole, a collection of telescopes positioned around the world which combined to boost their power in order to capture the black hole known as Messier 87 for the first time.
Monster black hole revealed for the first time
The results of the years-long effort have been published in Astrophysical Journal Letters. The black hole is located in a distant galaxy is 40 billion km across, about - million times the size of the Earth. Scientists working on the project describe it as "a monster." The eight linked telescopes managed to capture the phenomenon despite it being 500 million trillion km away.
The image which is being shared across the world shows an intensely bright ring surrounding an ominous circular black hole. The ‘ring of fire’ is created by superheated gas falling into the hole.
To put just how bright that ring is into perspective, scientists estimate it is brighter than all the billions of other stars in the galaxy combined. This hard-to-fathom intensity allows it to be seen from Earth.
Observe the edge of the dark circle carefully, that is where the gas enters the black hole. An object with such an intense gravitational pull that not even light can escape. The incredibly difficult imaging task was accomplished by a huge collaborative effort of international scientist and researchers.
They used a technique known as Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), which was essentially a network of radio telescopes around the world which coordinated their efforts to produce a series of images from different vantage points. Then a supercomputer spent two years stitching together the more than one million gigabytes of data captured by the telescopes to create the image we see today.
Baidu beats Google
Baidu seems to have beaten Google to be the first to celebrate the incredible scientific breakthrough. Known as ‘doodles’ both search engines often change their logo above the search bar to commemorate extraordinary events, anniversaries and people.
Baidu has the 2nd largest search engine in the world, but like Google don't limit their operations to the web. The company’s Apollo Project is one of the world's leading autonomous driving and AI programs. It has an extended partner ecosystem that includes over 100 global partners as of 2018, including BYD, Dongfeng, Microsoft, Intel, Nvidia, Daimler AG, ZTE, Grab, Ford, Hyundai, and Honda.