Ripon alumna Ann Ewing ’41 coined the term ‘black hole’ in space terminology

The first-ever image of a black hole, a space phenomenon located in a distant galaxy, was released Wednesday with details published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

It was photographed by Event Horizon Telescope, a network of eight linked telescopes across the world, because no single telescope is powerful enough to do so on its own.

The term “black hole” in space terminology was coined in 1964 by Ripon College alumna Ann Ewing ’41, who majored in chemistry and physics at Ripon College and became a science journalist. A black hole is described as “a region of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape. Despite the name, they are not empty but instead consist of a huge amount of matter packed densely into a small area, giving it an immense gravitational pull.”

Christina Othon, Ripon College associate professor of physics, says, “The image is the verification of theoretical predictions that date back to just over 100 years ago. The mathematics of gravitational theory led to a remarkable prediction, a singularity in space where the curvature of space and subsequent gravitational attraction become so intense that nothing could escape it. We have been observing stars that are in stable orbits around these invisible points in space for decades, but this image is the first glimpse of what the object at the center of those orbits looks like.

“This is a remarkable achievement of technology because the thermal emission of the gas surrounding the black hole is weak, and this object is very far away. Now that we can capture images of them, we may be able to learn new information about these mysterious objects.”


Related Posts

Frankie Reynolds ’14 with wife, Liz, and son, Hank.

A student leader at Ripon, Reynolds ’14 remains active in LGTBQ+ advocacy

Frankie Reynolds ’14, more commonly known as Rosette Reynolds during her time as a student at Ripon College, “came out” as a high school freshman […]

Photo of Ripon College alumna Lois Van Leer, Class of 1978

“I was terrified” — Van Leer ’78 describes being gay in the 1970s

The Rev. Lois Van Leer attended Ripon at a time when gay students had very few outlets to discuss their sexuality. She realized as a […]

Zachary Morris '02

Zachary Morris ’02 named chair of the UW Department of Human Oncology

Zachary Morris ’02 has been named chair of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Human Oncology. A leading expert […]

Rally Days 2024

Rally Days 2024 supports Forever Ripon campaign

Rally Days 2024 is LIVE! Our goal is to secure 1,000 gifts to support the Forever Ripon campaign between Wednesday, April 3, and Friday, April 5. Celebrate […]

Photographic image of a black hole

 


Related Areas of Study