The World Just Got its First Look Inside a Black Hole

Scientists have captured the first image of a supermassive black hole.

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Intergalactic celebration is in order, as scientists have finally dropped the much-anticipated first image of a supermassive black hole.

The image, revealed Wednesday morning, captured the black hole at the center of  Messier 87, reported The Washington Post. Messier 87, the largest known galaxy, is about 54 million light-years away.

The highly-anticipated image was captured via the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a world-wide network of 10 radio telescopes. The observation took two years of grueling preparation, during which astronomers faced bad weather, inconsistent electric grids, and interference from the Earth’s atmosphere.

After shipping and analyzing massive amounts of data, scientists tested their findings against black hole simulations until they finally landed on a match.

“It’s truly remarkable,” Shep Doeleman, director of the EHT, told the Post of the global effort that led to Wednesday’s reveal. “It’s almost humbling in a certain way.”

The final image, which was first revealed at the National Press Club in Washington, shows a hot, glowing ring around the dark silhouette of the black hole. Called the event horizon, the image captures the boundary between light and dark around a black hole, where the gravity of the black hole reaches such extreme levels that nothing that enters can ever escape.

According to The Post, the picture matches scientists’ expectations, aligning with the image theorists have been predicting for over a century.

“We are able to image one more object in the universe that … at one point people thought could not be possible,” Feryal Ozel, a member of the EHT science council, told The Post. “It hits that human explorer spirit. We got another look into the unknown.”

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