Google is celebrating the first image of a black hole with an animated doodle. The doodle depicts the first image of the black hole M87 as a polaroid that then sucks everything in the frame inside itself. You can see the doodle above its search engine bar in your browser or on the Google Doodle site.
Google trailed behind the Chinese search engine Baidu who released their black hole doodle yesterday. The world is astounded by the achievement of the Event Horizon Telescope that managed to capture the image of the black hole.
Huge achievement continues to be celebrated
Photographing a black hole is an overwhelming task. Trying to capture an object that has a gravitational pull so powerful that not only light can escape would intimidate many, but the Event Horizon Team worked tirelessly for years to make this historic breakthrough.
To put the challenge into perspective, the black hole that was captured, known as M87 is larger than the size of our entire solar system, it's about three million times the size of the Earth.
Photographing the impossible
Not only it is huge, but it's also really really far away about 500 million trillion kilometers away.
“This is the equivalent of being able to read the date on a quarter in Los Angeles, standing here in Washington D.C.,” said Shep Doeleman, a Harvard University senior research fellow and director of the Event Horizon Telescope project.
It’s thanks to the EHT that scientists and engineers around the world can begin to examine black holes with renewed intensity. The existence of black holes has long been taken for granted because of the severe effect their gravity has on the orbits of stars in the galactic core.
In the time-lapse video from the European Southern Observatory taken over 20 years, the elliptical orbit of the star closest to Sagittarius A*, the Supermassive Black Hole (SMBH) that sits in the center of our galaxy, can been seen accelerating to a significant fraction of the speed of light at the perigee of its orbit.
This kind of motion could only be produced by an object of immense mass that could only be an SMBH.
There has been incredibly strong evidence that black holes exist for a long time, but this still isn’t the same as directly observing the thing itself - which is what we have the privilege of doing now.
The image of M87 will occupy scientists for weeks, months and even years to come as they analyze it from every perspective. The image even brings the opportunity to rethink established knowledge like Einstein's theory of general relativity.
Google Doodle's are created by Google to celebrate significant events, anniversaries or events. They usually appear at midnight and stay around for 24 hours. The full list of past Google doodles can be seen on their webpage.