We’re still not sure why Mercury is seemingly always in retrograde, but for now, we can shelf that issue, as many of our black hole questions can be answered as of today.
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which is a series of eight, ground-based radio telescopes positioned around the globe, has officially fulfilled its purpose in delivering the first-ever photos of an actual black hole after CNN reported that a “big reveal” would be coming.
It’s not just any black hole, though – it’s a gargantuan-sized black hole that lies right in the middle of galaxy Messier 87. The black hole lives about 55 million lightyears away from Earth and has a mass that sits impressively at a number 6.5 billion times larger than that of the sun.
Everything we’ve gathered about the physical appearance of a black hole has been predicted using Einstein’s general relativity. But now, with an actual image of a black hole to go off of, researchers can confirm various theories - like the fact that black holes will create a dark region in the center of a field of glowing gases.
Paul T.P. Ho, an EHT Board member, states that “many of the features of the observed image match our theoretical understanding surprisingly well.”
The photo is the product of decades of research on the part of the EHT, the US National Science Foundation, the European Southern Observatory, and the EU’s European Research Council.
Of course, in typical Internet fashion, the photo of the black hole has already hit meme status with Twitter users everywhere claiming the photo resembles the Eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings.