The wait is finally over. The first image of the black hole has been released and it is a breakthrough in the field of astrophysics.
The European Southern Observatory announced earlier this week that they have some big news to share. The international collaboration, Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, is ready to share their first results.
The EHT project has spent years on a singular mission: to capture images of the immediate environment of the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, which is at the centre of the Milky Way. Also on EHT's agenda has been to try documenting an even larger black hole in the Messier 87 galaxy, which is a little over 50 million light-years from our planet.
“We’ve exposed a part of our universe we’ve never seen before,” said Shep Doeleman, an astronomer at Harvard University who directed the effort to capture the image, during a Wednesday news conference in Washington, D.C.
The image offered a final, ringing affirmation of an idea so disturbing that even Einstein, from whose equations black holes emerged, was loathe to accept it. If too much matter is crammed into one place, the cumulative force of gravity becomes overwhelming, and the place becomes an eternal trap, a black hole. Here, according to Einstein’s theory, matter, space and time come to an end and vanish like a dream.
On Wednesday morning that dark vision became a visceral reality. When the image was put up on the screen in Washington, cheers and gasps, followed by applause, broke out.