On This Day

1st Photo of a Black Hole

The first ever picture of black hole
The first ever picture of black hole

Historical Context

A 'black hole' is a region of spacetime where the gravitational force is so strong that nothing - including light - can escape its pull. The idea of these objects had been posited theoretically as far back as the 18th century. Albert Einstein did much to establish the existence of black holes in theory with his general theory of relativity, but he himself had his doubts as the concept was so bizarre.

Another scientist who spent much of his career devoted to black holes was Stephen Hawking, who described a theory that black holes emit radiation. He would unfortunately pass away a year before the first photo of a black hole, above, was released.

The above photo was taken by the Event Horizon Telescope, which is actually a series of telescope arrays. The black hole is in the galaxy Messier 87, and the hole is some 7 billion times the mass of the Sun. Black holes are thought to exist at the center of many galaxies, including our own.

Photo Info

Photographer: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.
Location taken: National Science Foundation, Virginia, USA

Source: National Science Foundation

Related Events

  • 2019-04-10 First-ever photo of a black hole announced, taken by The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration in 2017 in galaxy M87, 6.5 billion times the mass of earth, 55 million light-years away

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