This is the first ever image of a supermassive black hole


The image, which has been praised by scientists as an "amazing accomplishment", was captured by an worldwide network of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope, according to NASA.

National Science Foundation explains that the image reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. "We are a collaboration of over 200 people internationally", astrophysicist Sheperd Doeleman, director of the Event Horizon Telescope at the Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian, said at a March event in Texas.

The Event Horizon Telescope itself is actually made up of eight telescopes linked together, which orbit the Earth and use the planet's rotation to aid in capturing incredible images.

As any science-fiction fan knows, black holes are concentrated areas of gravitational collapse so massive that nothing - not even light - can escape their pull.

Black holes are freakish things, having enormous mass while remaining very compact. Both Sag A* and M87 fall into this category.

Physicist and black hole expert Lia Medeiros, from the University of Arizona, told ScienceNews magazine: "If general relativity buckles at a black hole's boundary, it may point the way forward for theorists".

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Then there are the so-called supermassive black holes, which are at least a million times bigger than the sun.

Press conferences will be held simultaneously in Brussels (in English), Lyngby (in Danish), Santiago (in Spanish), Shanghai (in Mandarin), Tokyo (in Japanese), Taipei (in Mandarin), and Washington D.C. Einstein a century ago even predicted the symmetrical shape that scientists just found, they said.

Images of SgrA are likely to show a lopsided ring of brightness due to gravity bending light closer to the black hole more strongly than light further away.

"History books will be divided into the time before the image and after the image", said Michael Kramer from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in one of the press conferences. The scientists said they focused their efforts on M87 first since the black hole moves a thousand times slower than the Sagittarius A, making it easier to capture.

In the image of the black hole, some saw "Superunknown", the 1994 album from the band Soundgarden, which of course produced the hit single "Black Hole Sun".

Black holes have been impossible to take pictures of because they have an extremely dense gravitational field.