This image of a black hole has turned scientific theory into scientific fact..

Until now, all ‘pictures’ of black holes have been the impressions of artists or the simulations of physicists.  On 10th April 2019, a team of over 200 scientists from around the world unveiled this image, formed from five petabytes (that’s five million gigabytes) of data they collected whilst ‘staring’ into a black hole. The team effort was called the Event Horizon Telescope or EHT project, and used the combined power and resolution of eight radio telescopes at six locations around the world – Hawaii, Chile, Arizona, Mexico, Spain and the South Pole.
The black hole pictured is located in the M87 – or ‘Messier 87’ galaxy (named after astronomer Charles Messier, who discovered it in 1781).  According to the EHT team’s calculations, it is a ‘supermassive’ black hole that has a mass equivalent to 6.5 billion suns! It is 55 million light years away from Earth, so, despite its massive size, it still appears as a small object in the sky. Forming an image of it has been compared to trying to take a photo of an orange on the moon.
To watch Dr Katie Bouman’s 2017 TED talk ‘how to take a picture of a black hole’, click here.



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