Seeing the unseeable


Emailed on April 12th, 2019 in The Friday Forward

Astronomers released humanity's first image of a black hole Wednesday.

The picture reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the "nearby" Virgo galaxy cluster. It looked like a flaming orange, yellow and black ring.

“We have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen and taken a picture of a black hole," said Sheperd Doeleman, Event Project Horizon project director at Harvard University. “This is an extraordinary scientific feat accomplished by a team of more than 200 researchers.” 

“For years, science fiction movies have imagined what black holes look like," said Duncan Brown of Syracuse University. "The picture taken by the Event Horizon Telescope shows us what they really look like."

This particular black hole is 53 million light-years away, so we see what the black hole looked like 53 million years ago.

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Sean Steigerwald