The Reading / Listening - Black Holes - Level 6

Astronomers have taken the first ever photograph of a black hole. It is located in a far, distant galaxy called M87, which is 500 million trillion km from Earth. That gargantuan number is a five followed by twenty zeroes. Scientists estimate the black hole to have a diameter of 40 billion km and to be three million times larger than our planet. Lead astronomer Professor Heino Falcke spoke to the BBC about the black hole. He said: "What we see is larger than the size of our entire Solar System. It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists. It is an absolute monster - the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe."



The image of the black hole was captured by an array of eight linked telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). No single telescope exists that is powerful enough to capture the image. Each of the EHT telescopes is located high up on volcanoes in Hawaii and Mexico, mountains in the USA and Spain, a desert in Chile, and in Antarctica. A team of 200 scientists pointed the networked telescopes towards the M87 galaxy and scanned it over a period of 10 days. The data they gathered was stored on hundreds of hard drives. It was then collated and processed to produce the image that is now a landmark in space exploration. Professor Sheperd Doeleman called it "an extraordinary scientific feat".

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Black Holes - Level 4  or  Black Holes - Level 5

Sources
  • https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47873592
  • https://www.sciencenews.org/article/black-hole-first-picture-event-horizon-telescope
  • https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/10/world/black-hole-photo-scn/index.html


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Warm-ups

1. BLACK HOLES: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about black holes. Change partners often and share your findings.
2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?
       astronomer / black hole / galaxy / trillion / planet / solar system / champion / monster
       image / telescope / powerful / volcano / desert / hard drives / landmark / exploration
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. SPACE EXPLORATION: Students A strongly believe space exploration is super-important; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. SPACE: What do you know about these things? What would you like to know? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

What I Know

What I Want to Know

Black holes

 

 

Galaxies

 

 

Asteroids

 

 

Solar systems

 

 

Comets

 

 

The Milky Way

 

 

MY e-BOOK
ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

5. MILLION: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "million". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
6. SPACE: Rank these with your partner. Put the best at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • Saturn
  • Pluto
  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • The sun
  • The moon
  • Mars

 

Vocabulary

    Paragraph 1

      1. astronomer a. Complete and total.
      2. distant b. An expert or student in the branch of science which deals with space objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole.
      3. galaxy c. A straight line passing from side to side through the center of a circle or sphere.
      4. gargantuan d. Far away in space or time.
      5. diameter e. Huge; enormous; very, very, very big.
      6. entire f. A system of millions or billions of stars, together with gas and dust, held together by the pull of gravity.
      7. absolute g. With no part left out; whole.

    Paragraph 2

      8. captured h. Took an image or photo of something or someone on a camera, telescope, etc.
      9. array i. An achievement that requires great courage, skill, or strength.
      10. volcano j. An ordered series or arrangement of things.
      11. data k. An event, discovery, or change marking an important stage or turning point in something.
      12. collated l. A mountain or hill that spits out fire and hot rocks.
      13. landmark m. Facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.
      14. feat n. Collected and combined to compare and analyze.

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if 1-8 below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. The black hole is in a galaxy very near to us called M87.     T / F
  2. The black hole has a diameter of 40 billion km.     T / F
  3. The black hole is slightly smaller than our solar system.     T / F
  4. An astronomer called the black hole a "heavyweight champion".     T / F
  5. Scientists used 80 telescopes to capture the image of the black hole.     T / F
  6. A telescope in Antarctica helped to capture the image of the black hole.   T / F
  7. It took 10 days for the telescopes to provide the image.     T / F
  8. A professor said the black hole would be made into a landmark on Earth. T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

  1. located
  2. gargantuan
  3. estimate
  4. entire
  5. absolute
  6. array
  7. powerful
  8. pointed
  9. collated
  10. feat
  1. whole
  2. achievement
  3. complete
  4. situated
  5. strong
  6. roughly calculate
  7. gathered
  8. enormous
  9. aimed
  10. formation

3. PHRASE MATCH: (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

  1. It is located in a far,
  2. That gargantuan number is a five followed
  3. have a diameter
  4. larger than the size of our entire solar
  5. the heavyweight champion
  6. captured by an array of eight
  7. No single telescope exists that
  8. scientists pointed the networked telescopes
  9. stored on hundreds of
  10. a landmark in space
  1. is powerful enough
  2. of 40 billion km
  3. hard drives
  4. linked telescopes
  5. distant galaxy
  6. towards the M87 galaxy
  7. system
  8. of black holes
  9. exploration
  10. by twenty zeroes

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
mass
galaxy
champion
estimate
ever
monster
gargantuan
astronomer

Astronomers have taken the first (1) ____________ photograph of a black hole. It is located in a far, distant (2) ____________ called M87, which is 500 million trillion km from Earth. That (3) ____________ number is a five followed by twenty zeroes. Scientists (4) ____________ the black hole to have a diameter of 40 billion km and to be three million times larger than our planet. Lead (5) ____________ Professor Heino Falcke spoke to the BBC about the black hole. He said: "What we see is larger than the size of our entire Solar System. It has a (6) ____________ 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists. It is an absolute (7) ____________ - the heavyweight (8) ____________ of black holes in the Universe."

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
scanned
capture
exploration
array
feat
desert
hard
located

The image of the black hole was captured by an (9) ____________ of eight linked telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). No single telescope exists that is powerful enough to (10) ____________ the image. Each of the EHT telescopes is (11) ____________ high up on volcanoes in Hawaii and Mexico, mountains in the USA and Spain, a (12) ____________ in Chile, and in Antarctica. A team of 200 scientists pointed the networked telescopes towards the M87 galaxy and (13) ____________ it over a period of 10 days. The data they gathered was stored on hundreds of (14) ____________ drives. It was then collated and processed to produce the image that is now a landmark in space (15) ____________. Professor Sheperd Doeleman called it "an extraordinary scientific (16) ____________ ".

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1)  It is located in a far, distant ______ M87
     a.  galaxy scald
     b.  galaxies scold
     c.  galaxy called
     d.  galaxy cold
2)  Scientists estimate the black hole to have ______ 40 billion km
     a.  a diameter off
     b.  a die a meter of
     c.  a diameter of
     d.  add a meter of
3)  What we see is larger than the size ______ Solar System
     a.  off our in tire
     b.  of your entire
     c.  off our entire
     d.  of our entry
4)  It has a mass 6.5 billion times ______ Sun
     a.  that of the
     b.  what of the
     c.  hat of the
     d.  sat of the
5)  one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists. It is ______
     a.  an absolutely monsters
     b.  an absolute monster
     c.  an absolutes monster
     d.  an absolute monsters

6)  The image of the black hole was captured by ______ eight linked telescopes
     a.  and a raid of
     b.  inner ray of
     c.  and a ray of
     d.  an array of
7)  No single telescope exists that is powerful enough to ______ image
     a.  capture the
     b.  captures the
     c.  captured the
     d.  capsule the
8)  The data they gathered was stored on ______ drives
     a.  hundreds of hardly
     b.  hundreds of hard
     c.  hundreds off hard
     d.  hundreds off hardly
9)  It was then collated and processed to produce the image that is ______
     a.  know a land make
     b.  now a land mark
     c.  now a landmark
     d.  know a land make
10)  Professor Sheperd Doeleman called it "an extraordinary ______"
     a.  scientific feet
     b.  scientific fleet
     c.  scientific feat
     d.  scientific float

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Astronomers have taken (1) ___________________ photograph of a black hole. It is located in (2) ___________________ galaxy called M87, which is 500 million trillion km from Earth. That gargantuan number is a five followed by twenty zeroes. Scientists (3) ___________________ hole to (4) ___________________ of 40 billion km and to be three million times larger than our planet. Lead astronomer Professor Heino Falcke spoke to the BBC about the black hole. He said: "What we see is larger (5) ___________________ of our entire Solar System. It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists. It is (6) ___________________ - the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe."

The image of the black hole was captured (7) ___________________ of eight linked telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). No single telescope exists that is powerful (8) ___________________ the image. Each of the EHT telescopes (9) ___________________ up on volcanoes in Hawaii and Mexico, mountains in the USA and Spain, (10) ___________________ Chile, and in Antarctica. A team of 200 scientists pointed the networked telescopes towards the M87 galaxy and scanned it over a period of 10 days. The data they gathered (11) ___________________ hundreds of hard drives. It was then collated and processed to (12) ___________________ that is now a landmark in space exploration. Professor Sheperd Doeleman called it "an extraordinary scientific feat".

Comprehension questions

  1. What is the galaxy called in which the black hole is located?
  2. How far is the black hole from Earth?
  3. What part of the black hole is 40 billion km?
  4. What is the black hole 6.5 billion times larger than?
  5. What kind of champion did an astronomer call the black hole?
  6. How many telescopes are part of the Event Horizon Telescope?
  7. Where is the desert in which a telescope was located?
  8. How many scientists were part of the team imaging the black hole?
  9. For how long did the scientists point the telescopes at the black hole?
  10. What did an astronomer call the image a landmark in?




Multiple choice quiz

1) What is the galaxy called in which the black hole is located?
a) N68
b) N78
c) M87
d) M86
2) How far is the black hole from Earth?
a) 500 million trillion km
b) 500 million billion km
c) 500 million million km
d) 500 billion billion km
3) What part of the black hole is 40 billion km?
a) its center
b) its diameter
c) the circumference
d) its radius
4) What is the black hole 6.5 billion times larger than?
a) Saturn
b) our moon
c) the Sun
d) our solar system
5) What kind of champion did an astronomer call the black hole?
a) a worthy champion
b) a grand champion
c) a heavyweight champion
d) a great champion

6) How many telescopes are part of the Event Horizon Telescope?
a) 7
b) 8
c) 9
d) 10
7) Where is the desert in which a telescope was located?
a) Mongolia
b) Morocco
c) Alaska
d) Chile
8) How many scientists were part of the team imaging the black hole?
a) 150
b) 200
c) 250
d) 300
9) For how long did the scientists point the telescopes at the black hole?
a) two weeks
b) 10 days
c) a month
d) 0.15 milliseconds
10) What did an astronomer call the image a landmark in?
a) space exploration
b) the history books
c) the history of Earth
d) the Milky Way

Role play

Role  A – Earth
You think Earth is the most interesting space object. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them why their objects aren't as interesting. Also, tell the others which is the least interesting of these (and why): the moon, Mars or the Sun.

Role  B – The Moon
You think the moon is the most interesting space object. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them why their objects aren't as interesting. Also, tell the others which is the least interesting of these (and why): Earth, Mars or the Sun.

Role  C – Mars
You think Mars is the most interesting space object. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them why their objects aren't as interesting. Also, tell the others which is the least interesting of these (and why): the moon, Earth or the Sun.

Role  D – The Sun
You think the Sun is the most interesting space object. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them why their objects aren't as interesting. Also, tell the others which is the least interesting of these (and why): the moon, Mars or Earth.

After reading / listening

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words...

'black'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'hole'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • Share your findings with your partners.

    • Make questions using the words you found.

    • Ask your partner / group your questions.

    2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

    •Share your questions with other classmates / groups. •Ask your partner / group your questions.

    3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

    4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

    5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

    • eight
    • single
    • high
    • team
    • hard
    • feat
    • ever
    • followed
    • three
    • size
    • mass
    • champion




    Student survey

    Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

    (Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

    Discussion - Astronomers release first ever photo of black hole

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    1. What did you think when you read the headline?
    2. What images are in your mind when you hear the word 'black'?
    3. What do you know about black holes?
    4. What do you think of the name 'M87' for a galaxy?
    5. How can scientists get an image from 500 million trillion km away?
    6. What do you think of astronomy?
    7. Why is it important to explore space?
    8. What is a black hole?
    9. What would you like to know about space?
    10. Where would you like to travel in space?

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'hole'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. Would you like to be an astronaut?
    5. What experiences do you have with telescopes?
    6. How did the universe begin?
    7. Are there other planets that support life?
    8. What do you know about our galaxy?
    9. Should governments spend a lot more on space exploration?
    10. What questions would you like to ask the professors?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________





    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    Astronomers have taken the first ever photograph of a black hole. It is located in a far, (1) ____ galaxy called M87, which is 500 million trillion km from Earth. That gargantuan number is a five (2) ____ by twenty zeroes. Scientists estimate the black hole to have a diameter of 40 billion km and to be three million times larger than our planet. Lead (3) ____ Professor Heino Falcke spoke to the BBC about the black hole. He said: "What we see is larger than the size of our (4) ____ Solar System. It has a (5) ____ 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists. It is an (6) ____ monster - the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe."

    The image of the black hole was captured (7) ____ an array of eight linked telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). No (8) ____ telescope exists that is powerful (9) ____ to capture the image. Each of the EHT telescopes is located high up on volcanoes in Hawaii and Mexico, mountains in the USA and Spain, a desert in Chile, and in Antarctica. A team of 200 scientists (10) ____ the networked telescopes towards the M87 galaxy and scanned it over a period of 10 days. The data they (11) ____ was stored on hundreds of hard drives. It was then collated and processed to produce the image that is now a landmark in space exploration. Professor Sheperd Doeleman called it "an extraordinary scientific (12) ____".

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     distance     (b)     distant     (c)     distanced     (d)     distances    
    2. (a)     follows     (b)     followed     (c)     following     (d)     follower    
    3. (a)     astrology     (b)     astronomy     (c)     astronomical     (d)     astronomer    
    4. (a)     all     (b)     entire     (c)     every     (d)     completely    
    5. (a)     lass     (b)     bass     (c)     pass     (d)     mass    
    6. (a)     everything     (b)     afraid     (c)     absolute     (d)     entry    
    7. (a)     by     (b)     of     (c)     at     (d)     to    
    8. (a)     alone     (b)     solely     (c)     single     (d)     just    
    9. (a)     plenty     (b)     justly     (c)     sufficient     (d)     enough    
    10. (a)     pointed     (b)     garnered     (c)     spun     (d)     skied    
    11. (a)     gathered     (b)     greeted     (c)     gated     (d)     garnered    
    12. (a)     feat     (b)     feet     (c)     fleet     (d)     float

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. located in a far, distant xaylga
    2. That ragatnnagu number
    3. Scientists smieetta the black hole to have...
    4. our etneir Solar System
    5. that we think teisxs
    6. It is an aboelust monster

    Paragraph 2

    1. an ayarr of eight linked telescopes
    2. located high up on seanoocvl in Hawaii
    3. over a direpo of 10 days
    4. It was then ldaetocl and processed
    5. space rtiopaexonl
    6. an rerntaidxraoy scientific feat

    Put the text back together

    (...)  galaxy called M87, which is 500 million trillion km from Earth. That gargantuan number is a five followed
    (...)  by twenty zeroes. Scientists estimate the black hole to have a diameter of 40 billion km and to be three million times larger
    (...)  hole. He said: "What we see is larger than the size of our entire Solar System. It has a mass 6.5 billion
    (...)  M87 galaxy and scanned it over a period of 10 days. The data they gathered was stored on hundreds of hard
    (...)  times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think
    (...)  than our planet. Lead astronomer Professor Heino Falcke spoke to the BBC about the black
    (...)  exists. It is an absolute monster - the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe."
    (...)  image. Each of the EHT telescopes is located high up on volcanoes in Hawaii and Mexico, mountains
    (...)  The image of the black hole was captured by an array of eight linked telescopes called the
    (...)  drives. It was then collated and processed to produce the image that is now a landmark in space
    (...)  Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). No single telescope exists that is powerful enough to capture the
    (...)  exploration. Professor Sheperd Doeleman called it "an extraordinary scientific feat".
    (...)  in the USA and Spain, a desert in Chile, and in Antarctica. A team of 200 scientists pointed the networked telescopes towards the
    1  ) Astronomers have taken the first ever photograph of a black hole. It is located in a far, distant

    Put the words in the right order

    1. have   first   photograph   .   the   ever   Astronomers   taken
    2. distant   It   galaxy   .   in   located   a   far,   is
    3. three   larger   than   our   Be   times   million   planet   .
    4. than   our   Larger   size   the   System   .   Solar   of
    5. one   heaviest   is   holes   .   of   black   It   the
    6. of   linked   telescopes   .   an   eight   by   array   Captured
    7. single   powerful   exists   telescope   enough   .   No   that   is
    8. networked   the   the   galaxy   .   towards   Pointed   telescopes   M87
    9. it   10   of   Scanned   over   days   .   a   period
    10. the   image   landmark   .   a   is   that   Produce   now

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    Astronomers have taken the first ever photograph of a black hole. It is located in a far, distance / distant galaxy called M87, which is 500 million trillion km from / near Earth. That gargantuan numeral / number is a five followed by twenty zeroes. Scientists estimate / guessing the black hole to have a diametric / diameter of 40 billion km and to be three million times larger than our plant / planet. Lead astronomer Professor Heino Falcke spoke to the BBC about the black hole. He said: "What we see / seen is larger than the size of our entire / entirety Solar System. It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think existence / exists. It is an absolute / absolutely monster - the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe."

    The image / imaged of the black hole was captured by an awry / array of eight linked telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). No singled / single telescope exists that is powerful sufficient / enough to capture the image. Each of the EHT telescopes is located highly / high up on volcanoes in Hawaii and Mexico, mountains in the USA and Spain, a dessert / desert in Chile, and in Antarctica. A team of 200 scientists pointed / appointed the networked telescopes towards the M87 galaxy and scanned / scammed it over a period of 10 days. The data they gathered was stored on hundreds of hard drives. It was then percolated / collated and processed to produce the image that is now a landmark in space exploration. Professor Sheperd Doeleman called it "an extraordinary scientific feat / feet".

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

    A s t r_n_m_r s h_v_ t_k_n t h_ f_r s t _v_r p h_t_g r_p h _f _ b l_c k h_l_. I t _s l_c_t_d _n _ f_r , d_s t_n t g_l_x y c_l l_d M 8 7 , w h_c h _s 5 0 0 m_l l__ n t r_l l__ n k m f r_m E_r t h . T h_t g_r g_n t__ n n_m b_r _s _ f_v_ f_l l_w_d b y t w_n t y z_r__ s . S c__ n t_s t s _s t_m_t_ t h_ b l_c k h_l_ t_ h_v_ _ d__ m_t_r _f 4 0 b_l l__ n k m _n d t_ b_ t h r__ m_l l__ n t_m_s l_r g_r t h_n __ r p l_n_t . L__ d _s t r_n_m_r P r_f_s s_r H__ n_ F_l c k_ s p_k_ t_ t h_ B B C _b__ t t h_ b l_c k h_l_. H_ s__ d : " W h_t w_ s__ _s l_r g_r t h_n t h_ s_z_ _f __ r _n t_r_ S_l_r S y s t_m . I t h_s _ m_s s 6 . 5 b_l l__ n t_m_s t h_t _f t h_ S_n . A n d _t _s _n_ _f t h_ h__ v__ s t b l_c k h_l_s t h_t w_ t h_n k _x_s t s . I t _s _n _b s_l_t_ m_n s t_r - t h_ h__ v y w__ g h t c h_m p__ n _f b l_c k h_l_s _n t h_ U n_v_r s_. "

    T h_ _m_g_ _f t h_ b l_c k h_l_ w_s c_p t_r_d b y _n _r r_y _f __ g h t l_n k_d t_l_s c_p_s c_l l_d t h_ E v_n t H_r_z_n T_l_s c_p_ ( E H T ) . N_ s_n g l_ t_l_s c_p_ _x_s t s t h_t _s p_w_r f_l _n__ g h t_ c_p t_r_ t h_ _m_g_. E_c h _f t h_ E H T t_l_s c_p_s _s l_c_t_d h_g h _p _n v_l c_n__ s _n H_w___ _n d M_x_c_, m__ n t__ n s _n t h_ U S A _n d S p__ n , _ d_s_r t _n C h_l_, _n d _n A n t_r c t_c_. A t__ m _f 2 0 0 s c__ n t_s t s p__ n t_d t h_ n_t w_r k_d t_l_s c_p_s t_w_r d s t h_ M 8 7 g_l_x y _n d s c_n n_d _t _v_r _ p_r__ d _f 1 0 d_y s . T h_ d_t_ t h_y g_t h_r_d w_s s t_r_d _n h_n d r_d s _f h_r d d r_v_s . I t w_s t h_n c_l l_t_d _n d p r_c_s s_d t_ p r_d_c_ t h_ _m_g_ t h_t _s n_w _ l_n d m_r k _n s p_c_ _x p l_r_t__ n . P r_f_s s_r S h_p_r d D__ l_m_n c_l l_d _t "_n _x t r__ r d_n_r y s c__ n t_f_c f__ t " .

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    astronomers have taken the first ever photograph of a black hole it is located in a far distant galaxy called m87 which is 500 million trillion km from earth that gargantuan number is a five followed by twenty zeroes scientists estimate the black hole to have a diameter of 40 billion km and to be three million times larger than our planet lead astronomer professor heino falcke spoke to the bbc about the black hole he said what we see is larger than the size of our entire solar system it has a mass 65 billion times that of the sun and it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists it is an absolute monster the heavyweight champion of black holes in the universe

    the image of the black hole was captured by an array of eight linked telescopes called the event horizon telescope eht no single telescope exists that is powerful enough to capture the image each of the eht telescopes is located high up on volcanoes in hawaii and mexico mountains in the usa and spain a desert in chile and in antarctica a team of 200 scientists pointed the networked telescopes towards the m87 galaxy and scanned it over a period of 10 days the data they gathered was stored on hundreds of hard drives it was then collated and processed to produce the image that is now a landmark in space exploration professor sheperd doeleman called it an extraordinary scientific feat.

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    Astronomershavetakenthefirsteverphotographofablackhole.Itisloc
    atedinafar,distantgalaxycalledM87,whichis500milliontrillionkmfro
    mEarth.Thatgargantuannumberisafivefollowedbytwentyzeroes.Sci
    entistsestimatetheblackholetohaveadiameterof40billionkmandtobe
    threemilliontimeslargerthanourplanet.LeadastronomerProfessorHe
    inoFalckespoketotheBBCabouttheblackhole.Hesaid:"Whatweseeisl
    argerthanthesizeofourentireSolarSystem.Ithasamass6.5billiontime
    sthatoftheSun.Anditisoneoftheheaviestblackholesthatwethinkexist
    s.Itisanabsolutemonster-theheavyweightchampionofblackhole
    sintheUniverse."Theimageoftheblackholewascapturedbyanarrayof
    eightlinkedtelescopescalledtheEventHorizonTelescope(EHT).Nosin
    gletelescopeexiststhatispowerfulenoughtocapturetheimage.Eachof
    theEHTtelescopesislocatedhighuponvolcanoesinHawaiiandMexico,
    mountainsintheUSAandSpain,adesertinChile,andinAntarctica.Atea
    mof200scientistspointedthenetworkedtelescopestowardstheM87ga
    laxyandscanneditoveraperiodof10days.Thedatatheygatheredwasst
    oredonhundredsofharddrives.Itwasthencollatedandprocessedtopro
    ducetheimagethatisnowalandmarkinspaceexploration.ProfessorSh
    eperdDoelemancalledit"anextraordinaryscientificfeat".

    Free writing

    Write about black hole for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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    Academic writing

    It is very important we understand black holes. Discuss.

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    Homework

    1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google's search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
    2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about this news story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
    3. BLACK HOLES: Make a poster about black holes. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
    4. SPACE EXPLORATION: Write a magazine article about more money being spent on space exploration. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against this.
    Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).
    5. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on black holes. Ask him/her three questions about them. Give him/her three of your opinions on research into black holes. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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