1 week ago
You are looking at the first ever image of a black hole, captured by the nsfgov ehtelescope Project.
Within the dark spot is the black hole—a place so gravitationally dense nothing can escape from it, not even light. The orange halos surrounding the hole are hot gas emissions, swirling around it under the influence of the strong gravity near the event horizon—the point past which not even light can escape before falling into the void.
To capture this image, a network of telescopes around the globe coordinated efforts to observe the black hole that sits at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster, 55 million light-years from Earth. This effort to create an “Earth-sized” telescope resulted in five petabytes of data (“the equivalent of billions of cat videos” according to EHT researchers) which researchers refined to create this historic first image.
The National Science Foundation played a pivotal role in this discovery by funding individual investigators, interdisciplinary scientific teams and radio astronomy research facilities since the inception of EHT. Over the last two decades, NSF has directly funded more than $28 million in EHT research, the largest commitment of resources for the project RealBlackHole ehtblackhole