The historic first image of a black hole unveiled last year has now been turned into a movie. The short sequence of frames shows how the appearance of the black hole’s surroundings changes over years as its gravity stirs the material around it into a constant maelstrom.
The images show a lopsided blob of light swirling around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy M87. To create them, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration — which harnesses a planet-wide network of observatories — exhumed old data on the black hole and combined these with a mathematical model based on the image released in April 2019, to show how the surroundings have evolved over eight years. Although it relies partly on guesswork, the result gives astronomers rich insights into the behaviour of black holes, the intense gravity of which sucks in matter and light around them.
Tom Cruise will be heading to the heavens to make the first action movie to be shot in space in October, 2021.
An under-the-radar tweet from the Space Shuttle Almanac, which emerged last weekend, appears to confirm that Cruise will be travelling with director Doug Liman on Elon Musk’s SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.
They will head to the International Space Station with the veteran NASA pilot Michael Lopez-Alegria at the helm.
According to the tweet, which lists the passenger manifest on the flight, there is still a spare seat on the mission.
NASA confirmed in May this year that Cruise would be heading to space to make a movie with Bourne Identity filmmaker Liman.
“We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make @NASA’s ambitious plans a reality,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridestine.