The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) needed two years to create the first-ever image of a faraway black hole, but a new Google Doodle that commemorates the landmark achievement came together in a matter of hours.
Google Doodle artist Nate Swinehart was sketching scenes for a black hole animation while in his car on the way to work, at the same time as EHT representatives prepared to announce their landmark achievement, a Google representative told Live Science in an email.
Executing the artwork took about 2.5 hours, and the animation was online within 6 hours after Swinehart submitted the proposal by email, according to Google. [Why Is the First-Ever Black Hole Photo an Orange Ring?]
Much as a black hole's gravitational pull sucks in everything nearby, in the animation, the "Google" letters are stretched thin and then swallowed by the inexorable tug of a black hole positioned at the center.
The EHT's black hole picture combined data gathered by about 200 researchers using a network of eight ground-based radio telescopes in locations around the world. In the image — which appears amid the Google Doodle — the M87 black hole's shadow is framed against a surrounding cloud of superheated dust and gas. A color map applied by the scientists tints the hottest areas yellow, while less-energetic regions shade into red.
This isn't the first time that Swinehart has created a Google Doodle in less than a day to spotlight an important astrophysics findings. In September 2015, he designed a Doodle following a report of liquid water flowing on Mars, and in February 2017, his Doodle celebrated NASA 's discovery of seven Earth-size exoplanets orbiting a star about 235 trillion miles (378 trillion kilometers) away.
"These achievements are incredible, inspiring and often mind-boggling," Swinehart said in a statement.
"It's a huge opportunity as an artist to take the homepage space and make something small and charming that piques people's interest in the discovery."
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Originally published on Live Science.