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News Release 19-006

Astronomers capture first image of a black hole

National Science Foundation and Event Horizon Telescope contribute to paradigm-shifting observations of the gargantuan black hole at the heart of distant galaxy Messier 87

black hole image

Using the Event Horizon Telescope, scientists obtained an image of the black hole at the center of galaxy M87, outlined by emission from hot gas swirling around it under the influence of strong gravity near its event horizon.

Credit: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.


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ANIMATION WITH EXPLANATORY TEXT ON SCREEN If you could fly next to the supermassive black hole M87*, this is what you would see.

Credit: NSF

 

ANIMATION - Eight telescopes around the world are synchronized with atomic clocks, creating a virtual telescope dish as large as the Earth itself.

Credit: NSF

 

BRIEF, SELF-CONTAINED, NARRATED OVERVIEW of Event Horizon Telescope project and the first black hole image. Includes sound bites with the National Science Foundation director and EHT director.

Credit: NSF

 

black hole illustration

If you could fly next to the supermassive black hole M87*, this is what you would see. 55 million light years from Earth, at the heart of galaxy Messier 87, lies a monster black hole. Weighing in at 6.5 billion times the mass of our sun, it distorts spacetime like few objects in the universe. It has enshrouded itself in a swirling disk of super-hot energy and matter, and radiates unimaginably powerful jets above and below.

Credit: Nicolle R. Fuller/NSF


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black hole illustration from top-down view

Top-down view of accretion disk around black hole at center of M87.

Credit: Nicolle R. Fuller/NSF


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black hole

The paths of photons are bent by the gravity of the black hole at the center of M87 resulting in a shadow.

Credit: Nicolle R. Fuller/NSF


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