The picture, depicting an orange and black ring of gravity-twisted light around the edge of an abyss, came about as a result of an global collaboration of more than 200 academics and images compiled from eight Earth-based telescopes positioned around the world.
While much of the matter around a black hole falls into a death spiral, never to be seen again, the new image captures gas and dust that is lucky to be circling just far enough to be safe and to be seen millions of years later on Earth. The shadow, caused by the gravitational bending of light, provides a huge amount of information about the nature of these fascinating objects, and enabled the researchers to measure the black hole's enormous mass: 6.5 billion times that of our Sun, located in a region 20 billion kilometres across, approximately twice the size of our Solar System.
One Twitter user wrote: "Lmao this is ridiculously true". The rendition that we are used to seeing in our movies is close to this picture. He referenced the many nights - with little sleep and low oxygen - the UMass researchers spent atop Mexico's fifth-highest peak, Sierra Negra, where the university's telescope sits at an elevation of 15,000-feet. Increasing the number of instruments that can operate at any one time, despite those considerations, will give the EHT a much broader range of times that it can capture data.
Bellamy, 48, and the group had a hit with Supermassive Black Hole in 2006 - 13 years later an image of a black hole was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration. You cant pick up a telescope, even one the size of the Earth, and see it for yourself.
He said the team "uncovered part of the universe that was off-limits to us". The name is misleading, as their equipment isn't a telescope in the way we ordinarily think of it.
They took the "sparse and noisy data" that the telescopes spit out and tried to make an image.
The breakthrough was announced in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Their gravitational attraction is so strong that nothing, neither matter nor light, can escape from them.
Scientists have known for decades that black holes exist, but only indirectly.
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The radio "photograph" was obtained by an worldwide collaboration involving more than 200 scientists and engineers who linked some of the world's most capable radio telescopes to effectively see the supermassive black hole in the galaxy known as M87.
"Three years ago MIT grad student Katie Bouman led the creation of a new algorithm to produce the first-ever image of a black hole", Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)'s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab tweeted Wednesday. In addition, we did not want to create just a lovely image, but also to understand whether the result with the theory matches.
The world is finally about to see a black hole - not an artist's impression or a computer-generated likeness, but the real thing.
Yet black holes are a key laboratory for testing Einstein's theory of relativity, which is our best theory of gravity. In the theory, Einstein predicted that dense, compact regions of space would have such intense gravity that nothing could escape them.
Kramer: We see an accretion disk falling into the Black hole. We didn't know.we were going to get that ring of light.
Earlier this week, Bouman has also stated that it was not just one person who was responsible for the image, but a whole team of talented people who have been working hard for years.
Even so, black holes had eluded us. The first black hole was discovered in 1971. This is why they couldn't be observed before. Essentially, from a distance, the picture astronomers released of the M87 black hole looks like a coffee ring left on a piece of paper, albeit a colored one. According to research, these black holes are as small as an atom, although their mass is as big as that of a large mountain.
The project cost $50 million to $60 million, with $28 million of that coming from the National Science Foundation.
The East Asian Observatory was one of EHT's partners and represented China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, India, and Indonesia.