Black Holes Make Big News

Black Hole from galaxy M87. Event Horizon Telscope
Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. This long-sought image provides the strongest evidence to date for the existence of supermassive black holes and opens a new window onto the study of black holes, their event horizons, and gravity. Credit: Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration

No, that is not the Eye of Sauron. Astronomy has always been a part of my life – knowledge of other planets, other solar systems, galaxies, going to the stars – it’s fascinating to me. I just need to look up on a clear night and I am in awe at the scope of the Universe around us.

This week marked a monumentally cool bit of science, brought about by telescopes and scientists from all over the world working together for the Event Horizon Telescope. Maybe you caught their live press conference today? If not, it’s on YouTube here.

I was glued to my screen as they explained what they’ve done and what the current results are. That little picture up there holds some monumentally cool info, not to mention all the work and effort it took to get that picture! I am saddened that Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and others I grew up idolizing have missed this moment, but I am sure they’d smile, they’d laugh, and be giddy just like the scientists that were up on that stage today.

They have a long road ahead of digging into the data and working with other galaxies and future endeavors, but for today I can just be amazed at the Universe and the what can truly be accomplished when the world works together.

Today, “the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.” (from the press release) Tomorrow? I eagerly await more astronomy news!

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