The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has resolved the event horizon of a supermassive black hole

On April 10th the globally coordinated announcement was made of the first ever image of the event horizon of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the distant galaxy Messier 87 (M87). The galaxy is at a distance of 55 million light-years and the supermassive black hole was confirmed to have a mass of 6.5 billion suns. See details of press release here.

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies.

Figure 1: Using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), scientists obtained an image of the black hole at the centre of galaxy M87, outlined by emission from hot gas swirling around it under the influence of strong gravity near its event horizon. Credit: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.

This is the work of many astronomers using millimetre wave VLBI radio-telescopes across the planet. By stitching together the power of 8 state-of-the-art mmWave radio-telescopes they essentially turned the planet into one giant radio-telescope. By using such a large telescope and millimetre wavelengths they gained never before obtained resolution to image the event horizon, which is about the diameter of our solar system.

Figure 2: Map of the EHT. Stations active in 2017 and 2018 are shown with connecting lines and labelled in yellow, sites in commission are labeleld in green, and legacy sites are labelled in red. Nearly redundant baselines are overlaying each other, i.e., to ALMA/APEX and SMA/JCMT. Such redundancy allows improvement in determining the amplitude calibration of the array.
Credit: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al

The results, so far, are consistent with all predictions of Einstein’s General Relativity theory.

From the biblical creationist perspective this is, yet again, good operational science. There is nothing new here that refutes the biblical timeline of about 6 thousand year because that is subject to historical science considerations. It is not an operational science question.

The distance to the galaxy is about 55 million light-years. Using the Einstein Synchrony Convention (ESC) (which assumes isotropic speed of light, c) the millimetre waves used in this measurement took 55 million years to reach Earth. But using the Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC), where the incoming speed of light, one-way, is chosen at infinity, the black hole is essentially observed in real time. No delay. This is consistent with the biblical description of events in the cosmos. See Genesis 1:16-19, Psalm 33:9, and Isaiah 48:7,13.

The data was taken from the different telescopes and was assembled and processed over a period of about a year but those initial observations were taken over a period of 7 days in April of 2017. Assuming the ASC, over those days the supermassive black hole was “observed” in real time. In the same way over the 24-hour period Day 4 of Creation Week about 6000 years ago all the stars and galaxies (with black holes at their centres) were “observed” at the earth as God created them in real time (Genesis 1:16-19). God spoke and “it was so.”

3 thoughts on “The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has resolved the event horizon of a supermassive black hole

  1. This discovery is amazing. All that’s left is to inspect more into that supermassive black hole and observe the properties of its event horizon. I watched the talk on the World Science Festival where they talked about the evidence we have for black holes, and the correspondents all agreed that some of GR’s implications about the black holes, namely the singularity, must breakdown, but further research is in order. Overall this is great.
    Sadly, a few deny this is a black hole but a plasmoid, which I think it’s absurd as plasmas do not have the force sufficient to accelerate the stars that orbited said supermassive black hole.

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  2. As requested earlier, John, please also post your comments about the physical implications of photons in reality having to have traversed that distance at infinite speed.

    This should not merely be stated as a convention, although we fully appreciate that it is a convention we have to follow, namely ASC. Nonetheless, the photons (zillions of them on the 8 detectors) all really, literally, not conventionally, had to have traveled at infinite speed.

    I realize that this may open a can of worms we yet not fully understand, yet we, of all people, must remain intellectually honest. Something (photons) really left that black hole vicinity where it (they) was (were) created and that same entity struck the relevant detectors. We should not skirt this. It is OK if we say we need to understand and study more the physical implications of the ASC.

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    • Whether one uses ESC or ASC to study the physics the physics is unchanged. So one would choose the CONVENTION that is most convenient. It could be that you are thinking that if the photons travel at infinite speed they would have infinite Doppler shifts. But that is not correct as it is based on the implicit assumption of the Doppler shift equation using the ESC. One must use the Doppler equation for the ASC if one is using the ASC. So to summarise, there is no change in the physics, any more than there would be if one used feet instead of meters in a choice of distance units. Jason Lisle deals with this question in the last chapter of his book.

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