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This Is a Sight No Human Has Ever Seen Before

Black hole is in the galaxy Messier 87, or M87
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2019 8:22 AM CDT
Updated Apr 10, 2019 10:12 AM CDT
The image reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5 billion...   (Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.)

(Newser) – Mankind has now something it has never seen before: an image of "the most mysterious objects in the universe"—the black hole. On Wednesday, six simultaneous press conferences were held around the globe, in Washington, Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo, reports Reuters. There, researchers shared the first result of the Event Horizon Telescope project, which in 2017 swiveled a network of radio telescopes worldwide to focus on the center of the galaxy Messier 87, or M87. "We now have visual evidence for a black hole," they announced. Per a tweet from the Event Horizon 'Scope, "The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun."

  • More numbers: Per a press release, a black hole's shadow is created by "the gravitational bending and capture of light by the event horizon," the region around a black hole from which nothing, including light, can escape. "The shadow of a black hole is the closest we can come to an image of the black hole itself, a completely dark object." In this case, "the black hole’s boundary—the event horizon from which the EHT takes its name—is around 2.5 times smaller than the shadow it casts and measures just under 40 billion km across."

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