Scientists from around the world have unveiled the first image of a supermassive black hole.
The black hole image was recorded using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale network of eight radio telescopes around the world. The image reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87 (M87), a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster.
Black holes are extraordinary cosmic objects with enormous masses but extremely compact sizes. The presence of these objects affects their environment in extreme ways, warping spacetime and superheating any surrounding material.
Creating the EHT was a formidable challenge which required upgrading and connecting a worldwide network of eight pre-existing telescopes deployed at a variety of challenging high-altitude sites. These locations included volcanoes in Hawai`i and Mexico, mountains in Arizona and the Spanish Sierra Nevada, the Chilean Atacama Desert, and Antarctica.
The EHT observations use a technique called