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Top Story

Astronomers capture first image of a black hole

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) -- a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration -- was designed to capture images of a black hole. On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers revealed that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow. 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. The National Science Foundation (NSF) played a pivotal role in this discovery by funding individual investigators, interdisciplinary scientific teams and radio astronomy research facilities since the inception of EHT. Over the last two decades, NSF has directly funded more than $28 million in EHT research, the largest commitment of resources for the project.

Visit Website | Image credit: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.