By Maya Hariz
What is shown in the image above is the first direct picture of the black hole. Many may say that the black hole doesn’t quite look as people would have anticipated, but keep in mind that black holes by their nature are invisible.
Because of their gravitational pull is so strong that not even light can escape them. So for many years, astronomers thought that an image like this was impossible.
The photography process started with a small team of innovators and ended with a telescope that’s unlike anything anyone has seen before. Despite the major advances made in the telescope industry, there was no telescope on Earth that had the ability to take a picture of a black hole.
The problem was that all of the telescopes were too small. The solution to that problem: 8 telescopes stationed at different points across the Earth, kept all in sync with powerful atomic locks. They call the resulting product the “Event Horizon Telescope”.
This series of telescopes, combined, have about the same capabilities as a telescope as large as our entire planet. And for the first time in history, it has shown us what a black hole around 55 million light-years away looks like. It’s about 6.5 billion times as massive as our Sun. As far as experts can tell, it looks exactly like what Einstein’s had predicted.
The light you see in the image is what is called the accretion disk. It’s a disk of light that forms around the black hole when a star travels too close and is broken apart in the process. That dark circle in the center measures 25 billion miles across.
As Stephen Hawking said, “Einstein was wrong when he said, ‘God does not play dice.’ Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen.”