The existence of black holes is a great doubt for scientists: multiple theories about their origin and destiny divide astronomers.
A “gateway to hell” that raises questions for humanity about its origin and destiny, is astrophysicist Heino Falcke’s description of black holes , whose shadow he helped capture in a historic image.
“In principle, these are the simplest entities in the Universe, more than a cell, because they are defined by just two numbers, mass and rotational speed”, explains Professor Falcke, who published the book ” Light in the dark “.
However, for this German scientist, a man of faith, black holes also represent, along with the Big Bang, an example of a “last frontier” of human knowledge, with no certainty that science will one day decipher its key.
“Physics has an extraordinary ability to explain how the world works, but why and how it began to do so are unanswered questions,” he says.
His work, co-written with Jörg Römer science journalist in the German magazine Der Spiegel, narrates in an accessible way from the history of black holes to metaphysics.
Object of the theory, but that cannot be “seen”, a black hole is the result of the collapse of the core of a star by its own weight (forming a supernova).
“Crushed and Absorbed”
Under certain conditions, the star “is curled up until its mass is concentrated in a single point, whose density is immeasurable”, describes the astrophysicist.
At this point, “nothing in it can escape, matter, light.” And, ill-fated that heavenly body that gets too close to it! It is crushed and absorbed by the enormous gravitational force of the black hole, without the slightest hope.
At the edge of the abyss there is an area called “event horizon” (an imaginary spherical surface), in which the absorption of matter would heat the remains of the body to immeasurable temperatures in a spiral of bright plasma, from which it would be impossible to escape.
Falcke is one of the founders of the international project for the development of an interferometric telescope, with a very wide base, EHT (Event Horizon Telescope), which managed to take the first image of the luminous disk that surrounds the “shadow” of a black hole .
On April 10, 2019 at 3:07 p.m. in Brussels, and simultaneously in five other cities on the planet, the image of the monster was revealed to the world, with a mass of 6,500 million times the sun , lurking in the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy .
The culmination, for the professor of radio astronomy at Radboud University (in Nijmegen, Holland), of a tireless search that began in the mid-1990s. The fruit of a fascination with space that was born watching the Apollo 15 astronauts walk on the Moon, in 1971, when he was only five years old.