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The wobbling shadow of the M87* black hole

23 Sep 2020, 16:00 UTC
The wobbling shadow of the M87* black hole M. Wielgus, D. Pesce, and the EHT Collaboration.

In 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration, including a team of MIT Haystack Observatory scientists, delivered the first image of a black hole, revealing M87* — the supermassive object in the center of the M87 galaxy. The EHT team has used the lessons learned last year to analyze the archival data sets from 2009 to 2013, some of which were not published before. The analysis reveals the behavior of the black hole image across multiple years, indicating persistence of the crescent-like shadow feature, but also variation of its orientation — the crescent appears to be wobbling. The full results appear today in The Astrophysical Journal in an article titled, “Monitoring the Morphology of M87* in 2009–2017 with the Event Horizon Telescope.”

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