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We May Soon See Something 'No Human Has Ever Seen'

Scientists may reveal photo of Sagittarius A* black hole in Milky Way
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2019 7:58 AM CDT
Updated Apr 7, 2019 3:52 PM CDT
All we have right now are illustrations.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 10: You won't want to miss the chance to possibly see "something no human has ever seen before." That's how Popular Mechanics is framing the big reveal scientists are expected to make—a photo of Sagittarius A*, a black hole in the Milky Way 25,000 light-years away. Per a statement from the European Southern Observatory, six simultaneous pressers will be held around the globe, at which researchers will present "the first result" of the Event Horizon Telescope project, a two-year initiative that trained a network of radio telescopes worldwide on Sagittarius A*, USA Today reports. That result is widely anticipated to be the first-ever photo of a black hole, though curiosity has been piqued as to what exactly that picture will entail.

That's because black holes are technically invisible, as they suck up all electromagnetic radiation and present as, well, black, per ScienceAlert, which also notes that the logistics around taking a photo of Sagittarius A* are further complicated by the fact that the black hole is smothered in dust and gas, and that spacetime in the vicinity of a black hole is "weird." Instead, what will likely be seen in any presented photo will be the "event horizon," the edge of the black hole where light can't get away. Per Yahoo News, some have said the image would probably look like "a ring of bright light around a dark blob." The press conference will be streamed live on YouTube. In the meantime, Forbes notes the six "supermassive questions" everyone has in advance of the supposed photo. (Read more black hole stories.)

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