This Video Zooms Into Messier 87 Showing How Experts Snapped the First Image of a Black Hole

Eureka!

Here’s your chance to zoom into the Messier 87 Galaxy and see how scientists observed and photographed the first direct image of a black hole.

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of a black hole. In coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers revealed that they succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.

This zoom video starts with a view of ALMA and zooms in on the heart of M87, showing successively more detailed observations and culminating in the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole’s shadow.


The ALMA observatory (Atacama Large Millimeter / Submillimeter Array) has published a stunning video that focuses into the heart of the M87 galaxy, culminating in the first real image of a black hole, presented in an extensive, worldwide press conference on April 10, 2019.

Image Credit: NSF.

The video published on Vimeo shows successive, detailed observations of the galaxy, located around 55 million light years from Earth. As you peer into the heart of the galaxy, you encounter the first direct evidence of a massive black hole, 6.5 billion times the mass of our Sun, measuring 40 billion kilometers across–or nearly three million times the size of our planet.

The first image of a black hole shows an intense bright ring of fire surrounding what seems to a spherical dark hole. The bright halo surrounding the black hole is created by superheated gas falling into the hole.

The light we see int he image appears brighter than all the billions of other solar systems in the galaxy combined, which is one of the main reasons why astronomers were able to photograph it at such a long distance from Earth.

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“Many of the characteristics of the observed image coincide with our theoretical understanding surprisingly well,” scientists have admitted.

Credit: ESO/L. Calçada, Digitized Sky Survey 2, ESA/Hubble, RadioAstron, De Gasperin, et al., Kim et al., EHT Collaboration. Music: niklasfalcke.