AMU Editor's Pick Original Space

First-Ever Image of a Black Hole Released to Public

Featured Image: The first-ever image of a black hole. Credit Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al. Released into the Public Domain.

By Wes O’Donnell
Managing Editor, InSpaceNews

Since the idea of a region of space in which nothing can escape, even light, was first postulated by Einstein’s general relativity, it remained a mathematical concept. Nearly 100 years after Karl Schwarzschild first characterized a black hole from Einstein’s work in 1916, humanity finally has its first glimpse of a black hole.

At the very center of our own Milky Way Galaxy sits Sagittarius A*, a supermassive black hole which has been quietly ticking and purring away with a mass equivalent to about 4.1 million of our suns.

In the Spring of 2017, a group of eight radio telescopes located in Chile, Mexico, Spain, Hawaii, Arizona, and the Antarctic, together known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), began to survey a galaxy in the nearby Virgo Galaxy Cluster known as Messier 87 (M87).

The scientists presented their findings Wednesday at simultaneous press conferences in six different countries and released to the public the first ever “photograph” of a black hole’s event horizon.

Credit Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al. Released into the Public Domain.

The EHT is not finished with their work. New radio telescopes are coming online in Greenland, France, and Arizona and the EHT scientists are already pouring over data from observations completed in April of 2018.

It is thought that all large galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their core.

Stay tuned for many more exciting observations in the months and years to come.

Wes O'Donnell

Wes O’Donnell is an Army and Air Force veteran and writer covering military and tech topics. As a sought-after professional speaker, Wes has presented at U.S. Air Force Academy, Fortune 500 companies, and TEDx, covering trending topics from data visualization to leadership and veterans’ advocacy. As a filmmaker, he directed the award-winning short film, “Memorial Day.”

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