The Story of How the First Image of a Black Hole Was Captured

Long thought impossible to capture, a team of scientists finally produced an image of a black hole on April 10, 2019.
Loukia Papadopoulos

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On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, an international team of scientists released the first-ever image of a black hole's event horizon. The impressive achievement was made by researchers working with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).

The picture finally confirmed the existence of a structure first theorized by Albert Einstein a century ago. The supermassive black hole (SMBH) captured lies at the heart of the distant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 (M87), 5 billion kilometers away from Earth.

The SMBH also has a mass equal to 6.5 billion times that of our sun. Black holes are notoriously hard to see because they are so massive and dense that their gravity captures every form of radiation that crosses their event horizon.

This makes them so elusive that up until that picture was produced, some argued black holes may not even exist. In fact, we have long been aware of their existence only by studying the effects their gravity has on their surroundings.

So if black holes are so hard to see and even harder to capture, how did this team of scientists finally manage to produce an image of one? This is a key question and one we seek to answer in this video.

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