The Story Behind the Black Hole Image

For the first time ever, scientists have captured a direct image of a black hole, allowing us to see something that was thought to be invisible

A black hole is invisible by nature. One of the strangest predictions to come out of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, a black hole emits no radiation we can detect, and it swallows up everything that falls on it, matter and light alike.

So it might seem paradoxical to talk about capturing an image of a black hole, but this is precisely the mission of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). April 10, 2019, will go down in history as the day EHT scientists released the very first direct image of a black hole.

It’s not one in our own Galactic centre, but is at the centre of the galaxy M87 – a resident of the neighbouring Virgo galaxy cluster, which is the home of several trillion stars. The feat marks the first time in history that astronomers have seen the shape of an event horizon. It’s an unprecedented map of gravity at its strongest, involving hundreds of astronomers, engineers, and data scientists from around the world.

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