The first-ever photographic evidence of a black hole was released today, a haunting image that shows the shadow of a black hole reflected off the super-hot, enormous accretion disk at the center of galaxy Messier 87 (M87). Scientists are looking at the galaxy M87 using the Chandra X-Ray telescope. According to NASA:
“This dark portrait of the event horizon was obtained of the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy Messier 87 (M87 for short) by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), an international collaboration whose support includes the National Science Foundation. This achievement is certainly a breakthrough, and we at NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory congratulate and applaud the hundreds of scientists, engineers, and others who worked on the Event Horizon Telescope to obtain this extraordinary result.”
Scientists are simultaneously looking at Sagittarius A, the black hole at the center of our galaxy. As I wrote for The Mind Unleashed last week:
“The effort conscripted a team of astronomers from around the world and an interconnected web of telescopes known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). These telescopes collectively have the strength to peer far enough into the core of the Milky Way to collect visual data from Sagittarius A, which has the mass of four million suns. With a five night window of viewing earlier this month—which was dependent on weather conditions—the Event Horizon Telescope observed the millimeter radio waves emanating from Sagittarius A.”
The image released today though is from a galaxy far far away. It is the first direct observational evidence of the physics-crushing monsters that may exist at the center of every galaxy. It is virtually impossible for humans to comprehend the power of this mysterious object, which is several billion times the mass of our own Sun.