Black holes in the universe

I would have never thought that I would be able to photograph a black hole with my own digital camera. But with some of these new super cameras it is now possible.

My Sony HX300 is capable of shooting stars with a 50x zoom, but with the internal zoom that increases the magnification to 3000x plus it is possible to see into the backgrounds behind the close stars and photograph galaxies and black holes.

Just lucky I guess, but in a corner of  one of my photographs I was able to photo enhance it through Photoshop and produce the following image.

It shows a few galaxies if you look closely, but one of the galaxies is shown in a curve. This is a classical distortion caused by a black hole. The black hole’s gravity is so intense that the space around the dense star is distorted and anything behind the black hole can be seem in this arc like distorted fashion.

This black hole is not at the centre of a galaxy but seems to be a rogue wandering black hole.

Black Whole in top right hand corner

Black Whole in top right hand corner

Identifying black wholes in the sky is almost impossible but because of the intense gravitational field around these stellar objects we often see a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. This effect bends the light from the distant galaxy around the intense gravity of the black hole in the for ground.

This affect of gravitational lensing can also be seen with other large masses of material. These gas clouds are non light emitting masses like black wholes but are not dense like black wholes. However, because they product some gravitational effects can also bend light from distant galaxies. Theory has it that a large part of the universe is made up of this dark matter. It is thought that much of the grey areas of the above photograph is related in some way to the effects of dark matter.

However, principally, the gravitational lensing effect in the right hand top corner of the photograph is identifying the location of a very massive object with a huge gravitational influence on the light from the distant galaxy causing the galaxy to look like an arc instead of an ellipse similar to the galaxy in the middle lower right hand corner of the same photograph.


by David Holland