Why this black hole photo is such a big deal

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Published on 10 Apr 2019, 15:58
What it took to collect these 54-million-year-old photons from a supermassive black hole.

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This is an updated version of a video we published in 2016 about the Event Horizon Telescope, an international collaboration to image a black hole for the first time in human history.

On April 10, 2019, the team announced their results: They had successfully imaged the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy m87, which is nearly 54 million light-years away from us. They were able to achieve unprecedented resolution using very long baseline interferometry, which combines the observations of multiple radio telescopes across the globe.

The team wanted to find out whether Einstein's Theory of General Relativity holds up in the extreme environment of black holes, and the results do, in fact, seem to be consistent with the predictions. In the future, we may see more and shaper images of black holes as the team targets smaller wavelengths of light and recruits more telescopes. Eventually, they may include an orbiting space telescope.

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