APR 10, 2019 06:36 AM PDT

Astronomers Reveal the Very First True Image of a Black Hole

Black hole illustrations are widely available on the internet, but not a single one of those has been a genuine photograph of the object itself; instead, they’re merely artist’s impressions that have been carefully designed to the standards that scientists have long thought that a black hole would look like.

Almost two years ago, a team of clever astronomers told the world that we’d eventually get to witness the very first actual photograph of a black hole, and after much anticipation, that very same team has followed through with this promise. The image below is of a real black hole called Sagittarius A* from our very own Milky Way galaxy:

Image Credit: EHT Collaboration/NSF/YouTube

If it looks somewhat unimpressive at first glance, that’s because all those artist’s impressions have spoiled you. Artist’s impressions are specifically designed to look beautiful, as they are often used as headings in print to captivate your interest. On the other hand, this here is the real deal, and it could care less about looking pretty because it’s a black freaking hole.

Related: This is what a black hole looks like when it burps gasses

The team of astronomers captured the image at an astonishingly high resolution with the help of some of the world’s largest radio telescopes. The team linked each of those telescopes together to form an array that is now collectively known as the ‘Event Horizon Telescope,’ and it has taken several months for even the most powerful computer processors to finally render this image for the public’s eye.

You can watch the astronomers’ full presentation below:

The astronomers describe the black hole in the image as a “shadow” that is “surrounded by a ring of light,” and it looks surprisingly like what scientific computer models have spat out at us for years. Given the circumstances, the image confirms the existence of the black hole’s event horizon, and goes on to further confirm theories provided by famous physicist Albert Einstein.

But if that wasn’t captivating enough, the astronomers also say that the image helps to solve a discrepancy in what we understand about black hole size and mass measurements. In this particular circumstance, the black hole we that we’re looking at is approximately the same size as our solar system, and this small detail played a part in making it visible from Earth.

Related: This black hole has been munching on a star for more than a decade

Albeit awesome, this image doesn’t answer all our questions about black holes; in fact, quite the contrary is true. Black holes remain incredibly ominous and mysterious by nature. These apparent sinkholes in the fabric of space-time continue to boggle even the best minds in astrophysics, and for that reason, astronomers will continue observing them in an effort to answer more of those questions.

Did this black hole photograph turn out how you expected it to? Let us know in the comments.

Source: National Science Foundation, YouTube

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 21, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 21, 2019
What Twin Galaxies Can Teach Us About Our Own
We reside in the Milky Way galaxy, and being that we exist inside of it, it’s particularly challenging to snag a glimpse of the Milky Way itself. Thi...
NOV 21, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 21, 2019
Will Humans One Day Give Birth in Space?
Deep space missions are becoming an increasingly relevant topic of discussion in the space community these days, and perhaps unsurprisingly, this often lea...
NOV 21, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 21, 2019
How NASA's Dragonfly Mission Will Teach Us More About Titan
If you haven’t already heard, NASA is planning to launch a new mission dubbed Project Dragonfly, which will study Saturn’s moon Titan to learn...
NOV 21, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 21, 2019
The Science Behind the First Powered Flight on Another Planet
NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 mission involves much more than just another land-based rover – it will also pioneer the very first powered flight on...
NOV 21, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 21, 2019
The Universe is So Vast That Even the Speed of Light Seems Insignificant
When astronomers measure the distance between two distant objects in outer space, the term ‘light-year’ gets tossed around somewhat frequently....
NOV 21, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 21, 2019
Neutron Star Merger Fused Atomic Nuclei, Spilled Out Heavy Element
It is safe to say that we live in a world of hydrogen and helium, the lightest elements in the periodic table. Born minutes after the Big Bang, the two mak...
Loading Comments...