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First image of a supermassive black hole

Credits: Event Horizon Telescope

On April 10th 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration presented its first results – an image of the supermassive black hole in galaxy M87 – in multiple simultaneous press conferences around the world. The official EHT press release is available from their website.

For the first time scientists have succeeded in taking a direct image of a black hole. The EHT is a large telescope array consisting of a global network of radio telescopes. By combining data from several very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) stations around Earth and using several independent methods the first image of a black hole was produced.

This breakthrough was announced in a series of six papers published in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The image reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun.

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