Fuzzy image of a black hole a quantum leap for science

Image Hotaka Shiokawa

Image Hotaka Shiokawa

Scientists have unveiled the landmark first image of a black hole from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) programme in a bid to test Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity. "Correlators" were designed and built for that goal, one of which was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the Event Horizon Telescope and another by the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, for the other group collaborating in the project, the GMVA. "Stellar" black holes, which are the most common, have a diameter of about 10 miles and a mass 20 times that of our sun. It was revealed today after years of worldwide collaboration between over 200 global astronomers. The circle is light that passed near to the black hole and was bent around by its gravity, a form of gravitational lensing.

The much anticipated image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole.

The 37-year-old scientist got involved in the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project that made the historic record of the black hole after joining the Taiwan-based Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) in 2016 as a postdoctoral fellow, The Star reported yesterday. Now, researchers hope to learn how a black hole grows and what makes anything orbiting a black hole fall in.

The very first picture of a black hole is here, finally.


The black hole lies at the center of the Messier 87 (M87), a giant elliptical galaxy located 55 million light-years from Earth in the center of the Virgo cluster of galaxies.

The project succeeded because of worldwide cooperation among 20 countries and about 200 scientists at a cost of $50 million to $60 million, according to the National Science Foundation.

Taken over four days when astronomers had "to have the flawless weather all across the world and literally all the stars had to align", the image helps confirm Einstein's general relativity theory, Dempsey said. Black holes are thought to be the "driving engines" of galaxies, "affecting the largest scales of the universe", she added.

While much around a black hole falls into a death spiral and is never to be seen again, the new image captures "lucky gas and dust" circling at just far enough to be safe and seen millions of years later on Earth, Dempsey said. "Yet with more observations like this one they are yielding their secrets". Yet with more observations like this one they are yielding their secrets. You can see the doodle above its search engine bar in your browser or on the Google Doodle site. Researchers needed one the size of our planet.


On Wednesday, Einstein's predictions about the shape and glow of a big black hole proved right, and astronomer after astronomer paid homage to the master.

"The problem is that they are usually too distant for us to capture them with our telescopes".

"UM contributed to the project", said Dr Juan Carlos Algaba, a VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) expert of the Radio Cosmology Laboratory in the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science in UM.

Dr. Monika Mościbrodzka said: 'Supermassive black holes are scattered all over the Universe.


"The image has this exquisite beauty in its simplicity", said CfA astrophysicist Michael Johnson, the project's imaging coordinator.

Latest News