Thank goodness it’s so far away.
Have you ever wondered what a real black hole looked like? Well, wonder no more, as the first ever photo taken of a black hole has just been published today in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The black hole seen in the photograph is located in a galaxy called M87 500 million trillion kilometers away and had to be photographed by a network of eight telescopes spread out across the globe. It spans about 40 billion kilometers across, or three million times bigger than the Earth, earning the title of “monster” from scientists.
“It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists. It is an absolute monster, the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe,” says Professor Heino Falcke from Radboud University in the Netherlands. “What we see is larger than the size of our entire Solar System.”
Falcke was the one who initially proposed taking a photo of the black hole. “It has been a long journey, but this is what I wanted to see with my own eyes. I wanted to know is this real?” He also said in an interview with BBC News, “It’s mission accomplished.”