Journey to first image of a black hole

The first ever image a black hole

The first direct visual evidence of the supermassive black hole in the centre of galaxy Messier 87 and its shadow.

In summary

  • Analysis for The Conversation by Alister Graham, Professor of Astronomy, Swinburne University of Technology

The first picture of a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy shows how we have, in a sense, observed the invisible.

The ghostly image is a radio intensity map of the glowing plasma behind, and therefore silhouetting, the black hole’s “event horizon” — the spherical cloak of invisibility around a black hole from which not even light can escape.

The radio “photograph” was obtained by an international collaboration involving more than 200 scientists and engineers who linked some of the world’s most capable radio telescopes to effectively see the supermassive black hole in the galaxy known as M87.

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