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Scientific American

Researchers from MIT and the University of Waterloo have found a way to test the Unruh effect, a phenomenon predicted to arise from objects moving through empty space, reports Joanna Thompson for Scientific American. “If scientists are able to observe the effect, the feat could confirm some long-held assumptions about the physics of black holes,” writes Thompson.

The Washington Post

Astronomers and researchers from MIT and 80 other institutions have captured the first image of a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy reports Joel Achenbach for The Washington Post.  “The pandemic slowed us down but it couldn’t stop us,” said research scientist Vincent Fish of the pandemic’s impact on the Event Horizon Telescope team’s work.

NBC News

Researchers from MIT and 80 other institutions have captured the first image of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, reports Denise Chow for NBC News. The image provides “the first direct visual evidence of ‘the gentle giant’ that lies at the center of our galaxy,” writes Chow.

CBS Boston

Researchers from MIT contributed to the first image of a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, reports CBS Boston. “Black holes don’t emit light, but the image shows the shadow of the black hole surrounded by a bright ring of light, which is bent by the gravity of the black hole,” reports CBS.  

The Boston Globe

An international team of scientists, including MIT researchers, unveiled the first picture of the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way, reports Martin Finucane for The Boston Globe. “Our collaboration’s remarkable images of Sgr A* and our scientific conclusions were a combined effort that involved not just the handful of us on stages around the world today, but more than 300 people all working together united by our fascination with black holes,” explains research scientist Vincent Fish.

Associated Press

Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein writes that the international consortium behind the Event Horizon Telescope has imaged the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. To get the picture, eight synchronized radio telescopes around the world had to coordinate so closely “in a process similar to everyone shaking hands with everyone else in the room,” explained research scientist Vincent Fish.

National Public Radio (NPR)

Researchers from the Event Horizon Telescope team, including MIT scientists, have captured the first image of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, reports Bill Chappell for NPR. “More than 300 researchers collaborated on the effort to capture the image, compiling information from radio observatories around the world,” reports Chappell. “To obtain the image, scientists used observations from April 2017, when all eight observatories were pointed at the black hole.”

Popular Mechanics

Researchers at MIT have developed an automated search tool that can help astronomers identify the echoes emitted by a specific type of black hole, reports Juandre for Popular Mechanics. “The team’s algorithm, which they dubbed the ‘Reverberation Machine,’ pored through data collected by the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, an x-ray telescope mounted to the International Space Station,” writes Juandre. “They identified previously undetected echoes from black hole binary systems in our galaxy.”

New York Times

MIT astronomers have used light echoes from X-ray bursts to try to map the environment around black holes, reports Dennis Overbye for The New York Times. Prof. Erin Kara then worked with education and music experts to transform the X-ray reflections into audible sound. “I just love that we can ‘hear’ the general relativity in these simulations,” said Kara.

CNN

CNN reporter Ashley Strickland writes that MIT astronomers developed an automated search tool and were able to “pin down the locations of eight rare pairings of black holes and the stars orbiting them, thanks to the X-ray echoes they release.”

VICE

Vice reporter Becky Ferreira writes that MIT researchers developed a new system, called the Reverberation Machine, to detect the echoes from eight new echoing black hole binaries. “These echoes offer a rarely seen glimpse into the otherworldly surroundings of stellar-mass black holes, which are about five to 15 times the mass of the Sun,” writes Ferreira.

Gizmodo

MIT researchers have detected eight echoing black hole binaries in the Milky Way and then converted the black hole X-ray emissions into sound waves, reports Isaac Schultz for Gizmodo. The researchers developed a new tool, dubbed the Reverberation Machine, which “combed satellite data from NICER, a telescope aboard the International Space Station that studies X-ray emissions from sources like black holes and neutron stars, including a weird type of emission known as an ‘echo.’”

Popular Mechanics

Researchers from MIT and the University of Waterloo have developed a new approach aimed at significantly increasing the probability of observing the Unruh effect, reports Juandre for Popular Mechanics. “Now at least we know there is a chance in our lifetimes where we might actually see this effect,” says Prof. Vivishek Sudhir. “It’s a hard experiment, and there’s no guarantee that we’d be able to do it, but this idea is our nearest hope.”

Science Friday

Science Friday host Ira Flatow spotlights how Prof. Scott Hughes has shifted the wavelengths of gravitational waves into the range of human hearing, creating an audible experience that allows listeners to experience the “ripples in space-time made by the tremendous mass of colliding black holes.”

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Leto Sapunar spotlights the efforts of MIT researchers who are investigating the origins of a fast blue optical transient nicknamed “the Cow.” To research scientist Dheeraj “DJ” Pasham, “this looks like a sign that matter is closely orbiting a ‘newborn’ black hole or a type of neutron star called a magnetar, and the matter shines with x-rays each time it completes a quick orbit,” writes Sapunar.