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NASA’s Event Horizon Telescope Captures the First Image of a Black Hole

Image+courtesy+of+www.NASA.gov.++Astronomers+take+the+first+picture+of+a+black+hole+-+although+since+even+light+escapes+a+black+hole%2C+the+image+depicts+its+shadow.
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NASA’s Event Horizon Telescope Captures the First Image of a Black Hole

Image courtesy of www.NASA.gov.  Astronomers take the first picture of a black hole - although since even light escapes a black hole, the image depicts its shadow.

Image courtesy of www.NASA.gov. Astronomers take the first picture of a black hole - although since even light escapes a black hole, the image depicts its shadow.

Image courtesy of www.NASA.gov. Astronomers take the first picture of a black hole - although since even light escapes a black hole, the image depicts its shadow.

Image courtesy of www.NASA.gov. Astronomers take the first picture of a black hole - although since even light escapes a black hole, the image depicts its shadow.

Hasita Nalluri and Rachel Lewis

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Everything, even light, is sucked into a black hole’s dense center. Thus, black holes cannot be seen. However, NASA’s Event Horizon Telescope collaboration captured the first picture of a black hole – or, rather, the shadow it makes on its surrounding cloud of gas – on April 10th, 2019.

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), an international collaboration of radio telescopes, released the first image of a black hole. Messier 87 (M87), is the home galaxy of this particular black hole. M87 is an elliptical galaxy 55 million light-years from Earth. The black hole is approximated to be six billion times larger than the mass of our sun.

Capturing the shadow of the black hole was very difficult. According to NASA, eight radio telescopes stationed all over Earth were needed to take the image, all operating as if they were one telescope the size of our entire planet. The director of the astrophysics division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, Paul Hertz, stated that this accomplishment was achieved decades ahead of time. Scientists had previously believed that to capture an image of a black hole, they would need one telescope the size of Earth.

There are still many unanswered questions about black holes. Why do particles surrounding black holes have such high energy levels? Where does all of the particles’ energy go when the particles fall into the black hole? With the help of this picture, many of these questions may soon have answers.

*This story is developing and will be updated as new information comes to light.

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NASA’s Event Horizon Telescope Captures the First Image of a Black Hole