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AstroAlert: The first image of a black hole

10 Apr 2019, 20:48 UTC
AstroAlert: The first image of a black hole
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Hi everyone,

Lots of excitement today as scientists revealed the first image ever taken of a black hole. The picture above shows the glow of hellishly hot gas surrounding the black hole, with the light blotted out within the black hole’s event horizon – the boundary where nothing, not even light, can escape the ferocious gravitational pull. The brighter glow at the bottom is caused by the gas rotating around the black hole, which boosts the light of the stuff moving towards us, as Albert Einstein predicted a century ago.

The image was taken with the Event Horizon Telescope, a global network of radio telescopes whose light is combined to act like a single telescope almost as big as the Earth. Large telescopes allow smaller details to be seen, and it requires an Earth-sized telescope to glimpse the tiny region around a distant black hole.

The Event Horizon Telescope is a global network of eight radio telescopes

The Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile is one of several around the globe that work in unison to create the Event Horizon Telescope. Image credit: Y. Beletsky and ESO
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill black hole. It’s one of the largest known – ...

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