NOV 20, 2017 3:14 PM PST

When Will We Actually Photograph a Black Hole?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


If you were to ask a handful of professional astronomers what they thought one of the most intriguing things about outer space were, many would probably mention black holes. But why all the wonder? Perhaps it's because we've never actually seen what a black hole looks like.

Indeed, every image of a black hole you've ever seen to date is nothing more than an article's impression. In fact, humankind has never photographed a raw image of a black hole before because they reside in the perfect camouflage: a dense, dark object in the middle of the blackness of outer space.

Some of the ways we detect black holes are when light passes near one and the immense gravitational forces 'bend' said light or when the black hole devours something massive and then 'burps' following on the large meal. On the other hand, these detections are nothing more than depictions of the light surrounding the black hole, and not the object of interest itself.

Given that we've never actually photographed a black hole before, you can bet that space scientists are just itching to get their hands on a photograph of one. Using a network of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope, they hope to gather enough interferometry data from several globally-placed radio telescopes to compose a full picture.

While scientists have collected much of the data already, we now need to process countless petabytes of data. Unfortunately, the files that make up this data are much too large for transmission, so the physical storage drives get transported from one place to another for analysis, and that takes time.

The first processed image of an actual black hole could be ready for public viewing by 2018, but scientists still aren't sure what we might see after processing all the data. For all we know, we might not have all the data we need yet.

Without a reasonable doubt, it should be fascinating to see what scientists come up with when everything's said and done.

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
DEC 23, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 23, 2019
Brave Ant Explorers Engage a Termite Colony
Ants and termites have known their place as bitter rivals in the animal kingdom for more than 150 million years. Even today, as populations peak at some of...
DEC 29, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 29, 2019
The Dangers of Space Debris Explained
Humankind has become increasingly reliant on satellites and space technology to conduct everyday life, be it GPS for navigation on the road or satellite in...
JAN 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 05, 2020
Here's How Reindeer Stay Warm in Freezing Temperatures
Reindeer are some of Winter’s most iconic animals, but have you ever wondered how these spectacular creatures are able to withstand such frigid tempe...
JAN 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 26, 2020
How Much Do You Know About the Planet Mercury?
Mercury is the solar system’s smallest planet, and it’s also the one residing closest to the Sun. But while Mercury is commonly shrugged off as...
FEB 11, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 11, 2020
Why China Was Banned from the International Space Station
The International Space Station is just that – a place where international space agencies can work together in an effort to accomplish similar goals:...
FEB 17, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 17, 2020
How a Spider Builds its Web
Just about everyone has seen a spider web at some point in their life, but have you ever wondered how a spider builds such a strong and perfect web? The pr...
Loading Comments...