The First Image of a Black Hole

Audrey Tumbarello, Journalist

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Black Holes are massive amounts of matter confined into a small area. That creates a gravitational field which draws in a plethora of matter. Around a black hole there is material that is heated to billions of degrees and reaches nearly the speed of light.

Back in April of 2017, scientists used a variety of telescopes to capture the first ever picture of a black hole. According to CNN the black hole was found in a “massive galaxy, called Messier 87 or M87, is near the Virgo galaxy cluster 55 million light-years from Earth.” This image gave proof that black holes exist. The black hole that is pictured has a mass that is 6.5 billion times that of our sun. According to Science News, the black hole hasranged between 3.5 billion and 7.22 billion times the mass of the sun.

In order to capture this picture of the black hole, as I said above, scientists used a collection of telescopes. This collaboration is called The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration(EHT). According to CNN, there were over 200 researches involved and they worked for over a decade to try to capture this picture. “In their attempt to capture an image of a black hole, scientists combined the power of eight radio telescopes around the world using Very-Long-Baseline-Interferometry, according to the European Southern Observatory.” There were multiple telescopes involved, but some specific ones include the IRAM 30-meter telescope, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, and the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano. These telescopes and a few others collected 5,000 trillion bytes over the course of two weeks.

This picture is a major help to scientists in discovering more about black holes and what else is out there is space. Scientists are still looking for more information about black holes, but this was one tremendous step that scientists took.