Image of a Black Hole Event Horizon

First image from the Event Horizon Telescope, a global collaboration of radio telescopes from around the world, all synthesized into one big virtual telescope. The whole point was to find out what a black hole looks like, and now we have it. This is a bit blurry and low-resolution, but still amazing when you realize what you are looking at: a real black hole!

It’s the supermassive black hole at the centre of a giant elliptical galaxy called M87, which is about 6.5 billion times the mass of the Sun. Perhaps more amazing is that this thing is 55 million light-years away. When the light we see now was emitted from the event horizon, Earth was in the middle of the Palaeocene/Eocene extinction, when a trillion tonnes of methane burst suddenly from the ocean sending temperatures soaring and killing thousands of species, resulting in the evolutionary spurt that led to early primates. So now that the light from this black hole event horizon has finally reached Earth, there are funny little monkeys with telescopes to see it.

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