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The first image of a black hole: A three minute guide

Astronomers have finally glimpsed the blackness of a black hole. By stringing together a global network of radio telescopes, they have for the first time produced a picture of an event horizon — a black hole’s perilous edge — against a backdrop of swirling light…

The images show the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy M87, which is around 16 megaparsecs (55 million light years) away and 6.5 billion times the mass of the Sun. They reveal, in greater detail than ever before, the event horizon — the surface beyond which gravity is so strong that nothing that crosses it, even light, can ever climb back out.

black hole space
black hole - first image
This Nature video, presented by Davide Castelvecchi, is a three-minute primer on this first image, made possible by the planet-sized Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, “multiple telescopes, located far apart from one another and pointed at the same object simultaneously. Effectively, the telescopes work as if they were shards of one big dish.”

event horizon telescope
Read more at The New York Times and NASA/JPL.

Previously: Stephen Hawking explains black holes in 90 seconds and Black Hole Hunters.

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