A Ring of Controversy Around a Black Hole Photo

This is a long post but well worth reading if you want to know what we really know about the black hole in M87..

Of Particular Significance

It’s been a couple of months since the `photo’ (a false-color image created to show the intensity of radio waves, not visible light) of the black hole at the center of the galaxy M87, taken by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration, was made public. Before it was shown, I wrote an introductory post explaining what the ‘photo’ is and isn’t. There I cautioned readers that I thought it might be difficult to interpret the image, and controversies about it might erupt.EHTDiscoveryM87

So far, the claim that the image shows the vicinity of M87’s black hole (which I’ll call `M87bh’ for short) has not been challenged, and I’m not expecting it to be. But what and where exactly is the material that is emitting the radio waves and thus creating the glow in the image? And what exactly determines the size of the dark region at…

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5 Responses to “A Ring of Controversy Around a Black Hole Photo”

  1. Excellent! I hope that, some day, we’ll get an equally good explanation of how the magnetic fields affect what we see. And if we can see hints of the jet. Oh, and bring on “Doppler boosting”!

  2. Phil Uttley Says:

    If people have some background knowledge, I would recommend reading the extremely thorough and detailed papers, in particular paper 5, which covers how the image is formed, including the accretion flow aspects which account for the flow not being a thin disk. Scientifically there is not too much controversy as far as I know, even if the presentation in the media was not perfect.

  3. Dark Energy Says:

    While these new discoveries are remarkable, there have been
    similarly important advances on the theoretical side. I find it
    interesting that Einstein equations can be transformed to the Navier-Stokes equation. I wonder if this is true for other Gauge theories
    e.g Classical Electrodynamics i.e Maxwell’s equation or more
    interestingly, the QED. What it means for confinement etc?
    And how singularity in hydrodynamics are interpreted as
    (sonic) black hole solutions?

    Finally, is it true that every black hole has a supersymmetric
    partner called ar*ehole in many well known string theories

  4. Phillip Helbig Says:

    I’m sure that you mean a black-hole photo, rather than a black hole photo. 😀

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