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Astrophysics milestone: First ever photo of black hole expected this Wednesday

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Washington: Scientists are expected to unveil the first-ever photograph of a black hole this week.
If they do, it will mark a major breakthrough in astrophysics and could provide new insight into the giant celestial monsters.
The US National Science Foundation says it will announce during a press conference “a groundbreaking result” from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project.
The announcement is scheduled to take place on April 10 at 9:00am (Washington time).
Simultaneous news conferences are also scheduled in Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo.
Science fiction paints black holes as all-consuming monsters but, for astronomers, there’s no cooler place to try and see. Listen as Cosmic Vertigo disappears beyond the event horizon.
Scientists from the EHT project are keeping tight-lipped about their findings, but it’s widely expected they will show at least one photo of a black hole.
The project was formed seven years ago with the aim of directly observing the immediate environment of a black hole.
“It’s a visionary project to take the first photograph of a black hole. We are a collaboration of over 200 people internationally,” the project’s director, astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman, said at an event in March.
To do so, the scientists linked a series of radio telescope dishes across the globe to create “a virtual Earth-sized telescope”.
The researchers then targeted two supermassive black holes.
The first — called Sagittarius A* — is situated 26,000 light years from Earth at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy, and is 4 million times the mass of our Sun.
A light year is the distance light travels in a year: 9.5 trillion kilometres.
The second — called M87 — resides 54 million light-years away from Earth at the centre of the neighbouring Virgo A galaxy, with a mass 3.5 billion times that of the Sun.
The first data was then obtained in April 2017.
Black holes aren’t the cosmic vacuum cleaners they are sometimes made out to be, but they are extremely fun to study.
Black holes form when very massive stars collapse at the end of their life cycle.
They are extraordinarily dense entities and have gravitational fields so intense no matter can escape being sucked in, including stars, planets, gas, dust and light.
The fact that black holes do not allow light to escape makes viewing them difficult.
So the scientists are instead looking for the ring of light around the black hole — the radiation and matter circling at tremendous speed around the edge of the event horizon.
The scientists behind the EHT project said they would aim to capture a razor-sharp image, but warned it wouldn’t be easy.
“The quality of the images depends on the arrangement of the telescope array, weather conditions at the telescope sites, as well as blurring of images as the light travels from the black hole toward the Earth,” the project’s website says.
The research will put to the test one of the pillars of science — physicist Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity — according to University of Arizona astrophysicist Dimitrios Psaltis, project scientist for the EHT.
That theory, put forward in 1915, was intended to explain the laws of gravity and their relation to other natural forces.
“The shape of the [black hole’s] shadow will be almost a perfect circle in Einstein’s theory,” Dr Psaltis said.
“If we find it to be different than what the theory predicts, then we go back to square one and we say, ‘Clearly, something is not exactly right’.”


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Danish billionaire’s 3 kids among killed

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Copenhagen, Apr 22: Denmark’s richest man Anders Holch Povlsen and his wife lost three of their four children in the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, a spokesman for Povlsen’s fashion firm said on Monday.
The spokesman declined to give any further details but Danish media said the family had been on holiday in Sri Lanka.
A string of bombings at churches and luxury hotels across Sri Lanka killed 290 people and wounded about 500 in Sunday’s attacks. A senior investigator said on Monday that seven suicide bombers had taken part in the attacks.
Povlsen is the owner of fashion firm Bestseller, which includes brands like Vero Moda and Jack & Jones, and is the majority stakeholder in online retailer Asos while also holding a big stake in Zalando.
He owns more than 1 percent of all the land in Scotland, according to Forbes.

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We took bold steps to counter ‘terror’, Congress response timid: Modi

Press Trust of India

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Pimpalgaon (Maharashtra): Targeting the UPA regime on national security issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said his government took bold steps to counter ‘terror’, compared to the timid approach adopted by the Congress-led regime.

Modi’s remarks at a poll rally here in Nashik district of Maharashtra came a day after a terror attack in Sri Lanka killed 290 people in a series of eight blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in the island country.

The prime minister said that due to the bold approach adopted by his government, ‘terrorism’ has been curbed in India and is confined only to some parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Under attack from the Congress for not letting the Rafale contract go to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Modi accused the opposition party of destroying the state-run enterprise.

The HAL has a unit in Nashik.

The prime minister said his government has increased defence production under the ‘Make in India’ programme.

Campaigning for BJP-Shiv Sena alliance candidates from Nashik, Dindori and Dhule Lok Sabha constituencies, Modi said the Lanka blasts took place on Easter when people were sharing the message of peace.

“What was the condition in India before 2014? Bomb explosions would take place in corners of the country every now and then in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Kashi (Varanasi), Ayodhya, Jammu,” Modi said.

“What did the then Congress-NCP government do? Held condolence meeting, expressed grief. They went about crying in the world, saying Pakistan did this and that in our country,” he said.

“But what did your chowkidar do? Your chowkidar changed this timid approach of the Congress-NCP government,” Modi said.

In an apparent reference to the 2016 surgical strike and Balakot air strike carried out in February this year, Modi said the security forces barged into the “factory of terror and cleaned everything without any discrimination”.

Modi said every “terrorist” is aware that “Modi would trace him even if he is hiding in the netherworld.”

Without naming any leader from the opposition, Modi said “some” experience electric current the moment I talk about dynasty and national security.

He said the opposition was restless given the response the BJP got in the first two phases of the Lok Sabha polls across the country.

Addressing the rally in a region known for onion production, Modi said his government is trying to increase onion storage capacity and reduce tax on their transportation.

He claimed that the Congress tweaked crop prices to benefit middlemen.

“I have fought a battle against these middlemen,” he added.

“Our government working to end the rule of middlemen,” Modi said.

Speaking at a poll rally at Nandurbar later, Modi said accused the opposition parties of spreading rumours that reservations will modified if he returns to power.

Modi said he will ensure that the quota quantum is not disturbed.

“Till Modi is here, nobody can touch reservations, given to us by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar,” he said.

Modi also assured people in the tribal dominated constituencies in north Maharashtra that his government will ensure they would not face eviction from their land.

“As long as Modi is there, reservation for adivasis will not be removed. No one can lay hand on your agricultural land you are cultivating now,” he said.

The adivasis are currently struggling to keep their land with themselves as some provisions of the Forest Rights Act are being challenged.

“In Maharashtra alone, 1.25 crore farmers’ families are benefiting from Pradhan Mantri Krishi Samman Yojana. If voted to power again, we will remove the upper land holding limit of five acre,” Modi said.

“My government is also going to introduce a pension scheme for farmers in coming years,” he said.

North Maharashtra produces sugarcane which can be used for ethanol production, Modi said.

It will create jobs for locals but the Congress-NCP leaders never allowed it to happen, he said.

“These leaders used to get kickbacks for importing fuel.

If fuel imports are reduced due to ethanol blending, they fear of losing their income,” Modi said.

Recalling that it was in Nandurbar that the Aadhar scheme was launched in 2010, Modi said his government ensured its wider impact.

“But and now the Congress has approached the Supreme Court against Aadhar card,” he said.

Funds meant for pregnant women and children were “looted” by Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh and were seized from residences of some of their leaders, he said.

“They (Congress) are unrelenting in abusing me as I targeted their corruption,” Modi said.

The prime minister also attacked Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy for his alleged remark that those who don’t get a square meal join the army and become jawans. Modi said that according to Kumaraswamy, people who guard our borders are not children of the rich and join the armed forces because they don’t have food to eat.

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JK Cong rings Delhi even for minor decisions: Omar

Global News Service

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Srinagar, Apr 21: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah Sunday said Congress leaders from Jammu and Kashmir are not allowed to take decisions on their own.
“When we were in an alliance with Congress, I noticed it myself that even for minor decisions they have to seek permission from party leadership in New Delhi,” Omar told reporters on the sidelines of a party function in South Kashmir.
However, Omar said, NC candidates for Parliamentary Elections if elected will not have to take “dictation” from New Delhi.
“Not only New Delhi but even National Conference top leadership. Our Parliamentarians will just have to represent the voice of people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Omar said people should come out to vote as boycotting elections will only help the BJP and RSS.
He said it was unfortunate that Election Commision of India was ignoring repeated violations of Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Narendara Modi and top BJP leadership.

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