The first direct image of the event horizon of a supermassive black hole as captured by the Event Horizon Telescope, a globe-spanning network of radio dishes acting in concert as a virtual telescope the size of Eerth. The image shows the dark event horizon of the black hole at the heart of galaxy M-87. The doughnut-like ring of light around the hole is made up of photons emitted by particles moving at near lightspeed just outside the event horizon. Image: EHT Collaboration
After years of preparation, observsation and data analysis, an international team of astronomers has accomplished a feat once thought impossible by definition: capturing a direct image of a supermassive black hole, or rather the event horizon that marks the boundary between normal space and the unknowable interior.
During simultaneous news conferences around the world on 10 April, the Event Horizon Telescope team unveiled a mesmerizing photo showing the dark hiding place of the 6.5-billion-solar-mass black hole lurking at the core of the giant elliptical galaxy M-87 some 65 million light years away.
“We are delighted to be able to report to you today that we have seen what we thought was unseeable,” Sheperd Doeleman, a radio astronomer at ...