Scientists reveal first image ever made of a black hole

Carla Harmon
April 11, 2019

BNOW: The black hole actually turns out to look like scientists predicted.

An global team of astronomers announced Wednesday it had successfully captured the first-ever image of a black hole.

The very first picture of a black hole is here, finally.

The Milky Way's black hole was too challenging to image accurately this time round due to rapid variability in light output.

What's new here is that the Event Horizons Telescope imaged the shadow that the black hole creates against the surrounding, glowing matter of the object's accretion disk (the hot matter falling quickly toward the black hole's event horizon).


Astrophysicist Dimitrios Psaltis of the University of Arizona, the EHT project scientist, said, "The size and shape of the shadow matches the precise predictions of Einstein's general theory of relativity, increasing our confidence in this century-old theory". Like, to an impressive degree.

"You could have seen something that was unexpected, but we didn't see something that was unexpected". Instead, they saved data down to high-performance hard drives, and that information was collated by supercomputers at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and MIT Haystack Observatory. Black holes are the universe's most powerful vacuum. Take Saturn's rings-they don't cross the planet when you look at it from the top or bottom.

Unable to resist their pull, here are Sixth Tone's top five picks for China's black hole memes. Usually depicted with a crescent moon representing righteousness on his forehead, Justice Bao instead sports a tiny version of the black hole in one meme.

The team focused on "the relatively small but "nearby" supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy and the distant, but extremely massive, black hole at the center of the galaxy M87", Adam Frank wrote about the team's work in late 2017.

Also trending in the wake of the black hole news alongside the band was the movie "Interstellar".


It was revealed at a series of simultaneous news conferences around the world on Wednesday.

"Christopher Nolan omitted that brightening because the human eye would likely not be able to discern the brightness differences on the two sides of the hole when the overall brightness is so extreme", Kip Thorne, Cal Tech physicist and advisor on the film Interstellar, told Gizmodo. The mystique of black holes in the community is very substantial.

But there are other differences as well, explained Throne.

Shanghai police shared a meme on their official Weibo account likening the black hole to an electric fan heater, a common domestic appliance in the winter months.

More photos are expected to be revealed as more telescopes come online. These are relatively minor points.


Scientists have created history by capturing the first-ever image of a black hole event horizon, which holds the key to one of the biggest mysteries of the cosmos. This unbelievable feat required global collaboration to turn the Earth into one giant telescope and image an object thousands of trillions of kilometres away.

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