A total of 12 000 people are registered to attend ESA’s Open Day in the Netherlands this Sunday – this picture shows what they would see if a black hole suddenly turned up as well.
ESA’s Advanced Concepts Team, presenting their research during the Open Day, has been researching the ‘shadows’ cast by black holes – meaning their distinctive visual distortions as their inescapable gravitational fields ingest surrounding light – as a definitive means of identifying them.
The image shown here represents a recently discovered class of spinning black hole called a Kerr Black Hole with Scalar Hair.
The ‘ray-tracing’ software used to create it simulates each pixel of light in the image reaching the camera after passing the black hole on the way, with some light rays bent in their path and others sucked into the black hole entirely. Try it out for yourself here.
Sunday’s Open Day is now full but there is a waiting list – if any registrations are cancelled then their tickets will be made available.