APR 15, 2019 9:53 AM PDT

Why is the picture of the black hole such a big deal?

For centuries, physicists have theorized that, with enough mass and density, it is possible that a place exists that could trap even light in its gravitational field. This would be a place where you would have to travel faster than the speed of light in order to escape. But because nothing moves faster than light, the idea of ever even being able to capture an image of such a place, which we now call black holes, seemed impossible. In fact, when you learned about black holes in school, the picture in your textbook, and every textbook since the idea came to be, has always been an illustration. 

Until now. With the assistance of some of the world's biggest radio telescopes, a team of astronomers was able to produce an image has gone viral around the world. While the image is not a photograph, but instead an image created by a collection of data from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project. That's because, as originally theorized, the black hole itself is unseeable because it’s impossible for light to escape from it; however, what we can see is its event horizon! Want to learn more? Watch the video!

About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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