It actions 40 billion km across - 3 million time the size of the planet - and also has been explained by scientists as "a monster".

You are watching: First ever image of a black hole

The black hole is 500 million trillion kilometres away and also was photographed by a network of eight telescopes throughout the world.

Prof Heino Falcke, the Radboud university in the Netherlands, that proposed the experiment, called News that the black hole was found in a galaxy referred to as M87.

"It has actually a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is just one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists. It is an absolute monster, the heavyweight champion of black color holes in the Universe."

The image shows an intensely bright "ring the fire", together Prof Falcke explains it, neighboring a perfectly circular dark hole. The bright halo is caused by superheated gas falling right into the hole. The irradiate is brighter 보다 all the billions of other stars in the galaxy linked - i m sorry is why it can be seen at such street from Earth.

The edge of the dark circle in ~ the center is the point at i beg your pardon the gas beginning the black color hole, i m sorry is an object that has actually such a big gravitational pull, not even light have the right to escape.

Image caption, Astronomers have suspected the the M87 galaxy has actually a supermassive black color hole at its love from false colour images such as this one. The dark centre is not a black color hole yet indicates that stars are densely packed and fast moving

The image matches what theoretical physicists and indeed, Hollywood directors, imagined black holes would certainly look like, according to Dr Ziri Younsi, of college College London - who is part of the EHT collaboration.

"Although castle are reasonably simple objects, black holes raise some of the most complex questions around the nature of space and time, and also ultimately of our existence," the said.

"It is amazing that the picture we watch is so similar to that which we obtain from our theoretical calculations. So far, the looks prefer Einstein is correct once again."

But having the first image will enable researchers to learn an ext about these mysterious objects. They will certainly be keen to look out for methods in which the black color hole departs native what's supposed in physics. No-one really knows how the shining ring about the hole is created. Even an ext intriguing is the inquiry of what happens when an item falls into a black color hole.

A black color hole is a an ar of space from i m sorry nothing, not even light, can escapeDespite the name, they room not empty however instead consist of a large amount of issue packed densely right into a little area, offering it an tremendous gravitational pullThere is a an ar of an are beyond the black hole called the occasion horizon. This is a "point that no return", past which that is difficult to to escape the gravitational results of the black hole

Prof Falcke had actually the idea because that the project as soon as he to be a doctor student in 1993. At the time, no-one believed it to be possible. However he was the an initial to realise the a certain kind of radio emission would certainly be generated close to and all roughly the black hole, which would be powerful enough to it is in detected by telescopes top top Earth.

He also recalled reading a scientific document from 1973 that suggested that due to the fact that of their huge gravity, black color holes appear 2.5 times larger than they actually are.

These two components suddenly made the seemingly impossible, possible. After arguing his situation for 20 years, Prof Falcke convinced the European research Council to money the project. The nationwide Science foundation and organ in east Asia climate joined in to bankroll the task to the tune of more than £40m.


It is an invest that has actually been vindicated through the publication of the image. Prof Falcke told me that he felt the "it's mission accomplished".

He said: "It has been a long journey, yet this is what I wanted to see through my very own eyes. I wanted to understand is this real?"

No solitary telescope is powerful enough to image the black color hole. So, in the greatest experiment of its kind, Prof Sheperd Doeleman that the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics led a task to set up a network the eight attached telescopes. Together, they type the occasion Horizon Telescope and also can be assumed of as a planet-sized array of dishes.

Image source, Katie Bouman
Image caption, Katie Bouman is the MIT college student who developed the algorithm that pieced together the data native the EHT. There is no her contribution the job would not have been possible.

Each is situated high up at a variety of exotic sites, including on volcanoes in Hawaii and Mexico, mountains in Arizona and the Spanish Sierra Nevada, in the Atacama Desert of Chile, and also in Antarctica.

A team of 200 researchers pointed the networked telescopes in the direction of M87 and scanned its heart end a period of 10 days.

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The info they gathered to be too much to be sent throughout the internet. Instead, the data to be stored top top hundreds of tough drives that were flown to central processing centres in Boston, US, and also Bonn, Germany, to assemble the information. Katie Bouman a doctor student in ~ MIT occurred an algorithm that pieced with each other the data indigenous the EHT. Without her donation the project would not have actually been possible. Prof Doeleman explained the success as "an extraordinary clinical feat".

"Breakthroughs in technology, connections in between the world's finest radio observatories, and innovative algorithms every came together to open up an entirely new window on black color holes."

The team is likewise imaging the supermassive black color hole at the center of our very own galaxy, the Milky Way.

Odd though it may sound, the is harder than getting photo from a far-off galaxy 55 million light-years away. This is because, for some unknown reason, the "ring of fire" approximately the black color hole at the heart of the Milky method is smaller and also dimmer.

How to view a black Hole: The Universe's Greatest an enig can be viewed the UK at 21:00 on 4 on Wednesday 10 April.