Thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, we now get our first direct look at a supermassive black hole and its shadow. This monumental feat has been made possible by EHT's eight ground-based radio telescopes positioned throughout the world, coming together in an international collaboration.
The video above zooms in on the black hole, beginning with a view of ALMA, then leading to the heart of the black hole, which is located at the center of the Messier 87 (M87) galaxy. Scientists predict that the hole is approximately 53 million light-years away from Earth.
The supermassive black hole was officially revealed during today's joint press conference that was live-streamed across the globe. In speaking on the subject matter, project director of the Event Horizon Telescope, Sheperd Doeleman, insisted, “Black holes are the most mysterious objects in the Universe.”
EHT researchers predict that the black hole is six billion times larger than our Sun, and that it is spinning rapidly, sending subatomic particles out into the universe.
The first goal of the Event Horizon Telescope project was to capture a photo of the black hole. Now, researchers hope to learn how a black hole grows and what makes anything orbiting a black hole fall in. Furthermore, they are aiming to find out why supermassive black holes project subatomic particles out into the galaxy and universe.
Visit the Event Horizon Telescope YouTube channel for more on M87's black hole.