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black holes,why not visit?


redfox1971
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Hi all,may be stupid question,but always wondered why we have not sent spacecraft (probe) to image a black hole up close,ok would no doubt be pulled in and distroyed,our nearest is sagittarius A,chandra spacecraft has infrared and x-ray images but not to the heart of a black hole,we have artist illustration all very nice but i would much prefer real images,surely this would be a contest to be the first to get close up to a black hole in our milky way galexy,but maybe if we did get spacecraft close would we not be able to retrieve the information as it would be pulled into the black hole,so many questions:confused:. thanks for looking.

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One reason (amongst many) might be that the nearest one is a long, long, long, long, long way away.

I think one of our most speedy spacecraft (Voyager 2) would (if it was even headed that way, which it isn't) take a quarter of a million years or so to reach the star Sirius (one of the closer stars) and the nearest black hole is a lot further away than that !.

Edited by John
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Assuming we could find one near enough to us, my (very limited) understanding of black holes tells me we could only get a signal from the probe before it started getting sucked in. After that, the signal itself could'nt escape.

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One reason (amongst many) might be that the nearest one is a long, long, long, long, long way away.

I think one of our most speedy spacecraft (Voyager 2) would (if it was even headed that way, which it isn't) take a quarter of a million years or so to reach the star Sirius (one of the closer stars) and the nearest black hole is a lot further away than that !.

John's right, it's a tremendously long way - about 1600 light years away is our nearest apparently..It's called V4641 Sgr and it is located in the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way. V4641 Sgr was first discovered as a black hole in 1999. Astronomers actually thought it was a star. However upon closer observation it was noticed that its brightness was six times greater than when first observed further observation through radio telescopes led astronomers to conclude that it had all the hallmarks of a black hole with an orbiting star.

Edited by Telrad
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Another thought is that a spacecraft might not be able to send a signal back if it went through the event horizon, which is "the point of no return" i.e. the point at which the gravitational pull becomes so great as to make escape impossible...

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If we had a probe in place, presumably meaning in orbit round the thing, right now*, we still wouldn't get the signal back from it for thousands of years. So be prepared for a long wait!

*memo: define "now"....

In fact, light and other information could be transmitted out from the region around the black hole, as long as the probe hasn't ventured inside the event horizon. But the signal would be strongly red-shifted, so perhaps it would have to transmit in X-rays and we'd receive in long-wave RF...

It would certainly be fascinating to get direct images of the accretion disk around a spinning Black Hole. But this won't happen for a while... :hello2:

Edited by 661-pete
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Hmmm not in my lifetime then,just keep thinking what the black hole gobbles up must mean another universe or time,as everything that enters must always exit,well does with me after heavy sesh on pop lol.

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It would certainly be fascinating to get direct images of the accretion disk around a spinning Black Hole. But this won't happen for a while... :hello2:

We might "image" (using microwaves) the (hot stuff just above, dark silhouette of the) spinning black hole at the centre of our galaxy within a few years; see the fascinating article "Portrait of a Black Hole",

https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/~loeb/sciam2.pdf,

from the December 2009 issue of Scientific American.

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If we had a probe in place, presumably meaning in orbit round the thing, right now*, we still wouldn't get the signal back from it for thousands of years. So be prepared for a long wait!

*memo: define "now"....

In fact, light and other information could be transmitted out from the region around the black hole, as long as the probe hasn't ventured inside the event horizon. But the signal would be strongly red-shifted, so perhaps it would have to transmit in X-rays and we'd receive in long-wave RF...

It would certainly be fascinating to get direct images of the accretion disk around a spinning Black Hole. But this won't happen for a while... :D

So I've got time for a quick cuppa ? :hello2:
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