Astronomers have taken the first-ever image of a black hole.
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), that uses a network of telescopes around the globe to turn all of Earth into an enormous radio telescope, has taken the first direct photo of a black hole.
The black hole is 500 million trillion km away from us. It was photographed by a network of 8 telescopes situated across the world.
All the details have been published today in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
This image shows the black hole in M87, which is 55 million light years away.
“We’re looking at a region that we’ve never looked at before, a region that we cannot really imagine being there,” said EHT scientist Heino Falcke in a press conference today in Brussels. “It feels like looking at the gates of the hell, the end of space and time.”
Multiple calibrations and imaging methods have revealed a ring-like structure with a dark central region – the black hole’s shadow – that persisted over multiple independent EHT observations
The image shows an intensely bright “ring of fire“, as Prof Falcke describes it, surrounding a perfectly circular dark hole. The bright halo is caused by superheated gas falling into the hole. The light is brighter than all the billions of other stars in the galaxy combined – which is why it can be seen at such distance from Earth.
The edge of the dark circle at the
“We have been studying black holes for so long that sometimes it is easy to forget that none of us have ever actually seen one,” said France Córdova, the director of the National Science Foundation, at a press conference in Washington, DC