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Black Hole Image Makes History | by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
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Black Hole Image Makes History

"We've now seen the unseen" — Avery Broderick, University of Waterloo, Event Horizon Telescope researcher


For the first time, a black hole and its shadow have been captured in an image, a historic feat by an international network of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope. EHT is an international collaboration whose support in the U.S. includes the National Science Foundation.


A black hole is an extremely dense object from which no light can escape. Anything that comes within a black hole’s “event horizon,” its point of no return, will be consumed, never to re-emerge, because of the black hole’s unimaginably strong gravity. By its very nature, a black hole cannot be seen, but the hot disk of material that encircles it shines brightly. Against a bright backdrop, such as this disk, a black hole appears to cast a shadow.


The stunning new image shows the shadow of the supermassive black hole in the center of Messier 87, an elliptical galaxy some 55 million light-years from Earth. This black hole is 6.5 billion times the mass of the Sun. Catching its shadow involved eight ground-based radio telescopes around the globe, operating together as if they were one telescope the size of our entire planet.


Credit: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.


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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.


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Uploaded on April 10, 2019