Jack Gabel, PhD, associate professor of Physics at Creighton University Studies Quasars
Studio interview available on the LTN Global Network
“My research is closely related to this. I study quasars which are incredibly energetic centers of galaxies that are powered by mass falling into supermassive blackholes just like the one in our galaxy.
I think we’re going to see light emitted from the region just outside of the “event horizon” of the supermassive blackhole at the center of the Milky Way. (The event horizon is the distance from the black hole where nothing, not even light, can escape).
The intense gravity of the collapsed mass just outside the black hole causes extreme warping of space-time, and light emitted near the black hole will curve around it due to this extreme curvature. In a very real way, we will be seeing the shadow of the black hole itself, if the image is as we expect it to be.
The very nature of the observation – seeing a silhouette of a black hole, viewing the most extreme environments of our universe – is exciting enough. But it also provides a new test of Einstein’s theory of gravity (general theory of relativity). We have many tests that have confirmed the theory, but never before have we been able to test it in extremely curved space like this which is where it should have its most dramatic effects."