First photo of black hole

First photo of black hole

Carter Fournier, Staff Writer

On Wednesday April 10th scientists released the first ever picture taken of a black hole. The image was taken by the event horizon telescope. The event horizon is a large kaleidoscopic system of radio telescopes stationed all over the world that is used to make a highly sensitive high resolution telescope. The black hole is at the center of the distant galaxy Messier 87. Although the image is fuzzy this is still an unprecedented development in humanity’s discovery of space.

What is a black hole and How far is Messier 87s?

A black hole is an area of space having such a strong gravitational field that nothing (not even light) can escape it. The one at the center of galaxy Messier 87 is as large as our entire solar system and is about 53 million light years away. For those who do not know a light year is, it is the distance light travels in the vacuum of space. One light year is about 5.88 trillion miles! So the there is no possibility humanity will ever go anywhere near Messier 87. The farthest a space probe has ever gone away from earth is NASA’s voyager 1 which was launched in the 1970s to photograph and discover more about the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn in a flyby. As of February 2018 voyager 1 has traveled roughly 13.2 billion miles away from Earth according to NASA and it has taken over 40 yearrs to go that far.

What does this mean for the scientific community?

The image of Messier 87 proves that our understanding of what we thought black holes look like from illustrations found in textbooks was pretty close to the real deal. This also means that Einstein’s theory of general relativity holds up to this new scientific discovery.