with black holes
A new film by New York-based director Paul Trillo lingers for just a moment on a serene body of water before plunging into a dizzying series of landscape transformations. “Until There Was Nothing” considers how Earth’s natural landscapes and city life would look just moments before being consumed by a black hole. The surreal work shows massive waves suddenly crawling up the left side of the frame, the tops of taxi cabs shooting into the air, and an entire forest of trees ascending in an amorphous mass.
To add an even more unnerving twist, Trillo overlayed the short film with a recording of British writer Alan Watts, who slowly expounds on the “prospect of vanishing.” Despite his film’s disturbing qualities, the director maintains an optimistic outlook. “Someday this will pass and there will be nothing left… That’s not something to fear ‘because we come from nothing’ as Alan Watts puts it… and from nothing comes something new,” he says.
Watch the full film, which Trillo alternatively titled “How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Black Hole,” below. Find more of the director’s perspective-bending projects on Vimeo.
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The first-ever recorded image of a black hole has just been released—and it doesn’t look like you might think. Though one might guess that a picture of a black hole would be not much to look at, the image shows a glowing reddish-orange ring that almost pulsates under the viewer’s gaze. This landmark visual was created using the power of the Event Horizon Telescope. As of today, the group of eight Earth-based radio telescopes has successfully captured and documented the first-ever direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.
The black hole is at the center of Messier 87, a galaxy located in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. It is located 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5-billion times that of the Sun. The National Science Foundation explains on their website:
Black holes are extremely dense pockets of matter, objects of such incredible mass and minuscule volume that they drastically warp the fabric of space-time. Anything that passes too close, from a wandering star to a photon of light, gets captured. Most black holes are the condensed remnants of a massive star, the collapsed core that remains following an explosive supernova… Using powerful observatories on Earth, astronomers can see the jets of plasma that black holes spew into space, detect the ripples in space-time from black holes colliding, and may soon even peer at the disc of disrupted mass and energy that surrounds the black hole’s event horizon, the edge beyond which nothing can escape.
You can learn more in this press release and watch a livestream below, or on YouTube, of the National Science Foundation’s press conference on the image resulting from the Event Horizon Telescope project.
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