Three years ago, scientists revealed that they had “seen what we thought was unseeable”: a picture of a black hole. In reality, we can’t outright see a black hole—an object so dense that light cannot escape it. But what the team at the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) managed to do was capture its bright silhouette, composed of extremely hot, super-charged gas and plasma that swirls around the black hole’s “event horizon,” or the point of no return. On Thursday, the EHT told the world it had gone a step further and taken the first ever photo of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the supermassive black hole that sits at the center of the Milky Way. “This is the first image of the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy,” Sera Markoff, an astronomer and EHT team member based at the University of Amsterdam, told reporters Thursday. “Today, we have direct evidence that this object is a black hole.” The 2019 announcement was of the supermassive black hole at the center of Messier 87 (or M87), a galaxy 53 million light-years away from Earth. That photo was stunning in its own right, but it was admittedly shy of the electrifying illustrations of black holes that often circulate around the internet. Instead, M87 as seen by the EHT looked like a blurry orange donut. But the photo did do one thing that was especially critical to astronomy and physics: it helped confirm Einstein’s theory of special relativity, which says that matter moving towards us will appear brighter than matter moving away from us. Sgr A* is just 27,000 light-years from Ea . . . read the full article here.
Keywords: center, million, milky, hole, galaxy, image, telescope, eht, behold, m87, sgr, times, black, supermassive, way
FAC: the Event Horizon Telescope
DATE: 2019, Today, Thursday, Three years ago
EVENT: Messier 87
MONEY: more than 6.5 billion
CARDINAL: one, two, eight, 4 million, more than 1,000, about 10 million
QUANTITY: 53 million light, 7.2 million miles, just 27,000 light, 23.6 billion miles