The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) researchers have revealed that they have finally succeeded in capturing the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.
Issuing a press statement, the EHT researchers said, “That 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 new image comes from the Event Horizon Telescope, a network of 10 radio telescopes spread across the planet and functioning as if it were a single receiver, one tuned to high-frequency radio waves.
The statement further said, “The construction of the EHT and the observations announced today represent the culmination of decades of observational, technical, and theoretical work. This example of global teamwork required close collaboration by researchers from around the world. Thirteen partner institutions worked together to create the EHT, using both pre-existing infrastructure and support from a variety of agencies. Key funding was provided by the US National Science Foundation, the EU’s European Research Council (ERC), and funding agencies in East Asia.”
“We have achieved something presumed to be impossible just a generation ago,” the statement quoted EHT project director Sheperd S. Doeleman adding, “Breakthroughs in technology, connections between the world’s best radio observatories, and innovative algorithms all came together to open an entirely new window on black holes and the event horizon”