First-ever picture of a black hole

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Black holes swallow all light and are therefore invisible. What sounds plausible is fortunately a little different in practice for astronomers. Because black holes are surrounded by shining gas discs and therefore stand out from the dark background, similar to a black cat on a white sofa. In this way, the Event Horizon Telescope has now succeeded for the first time in photographing a black hole. This worldwide network of eight ground-based radio telescopes focused on the galaxy Messier 87, about 55 million light years away. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and the Institute for Radio Astronomy in the Millimetre Range (IRAM) are also involved in the observation.

 

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The IRAM 30-meter Telescope near Granada (south of Spain) Credit: DiVertiCimes

Cover image:

View of a mass monster: this image is the first direct visual evidence of a black hole. This particularly massive specimen is at the centre of the massive galaxy Messier 87 and was recorded with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a network of eight ground-based radio telescopes distributed around the globe. © EHT Collaboration