Darkness made visible
An international team of astronomers has produced the first ever image of a black hole
Massive, ubiquitous, and in some cases as big as our Solar System, black holes hide in plain sight. The effect of their gravity on objects around them and, lately, the gravitational waves emitted when they collide reveal their presence. But no one had ever seen one directly—until April. That’s when an international team of radio astronomers released a startling close-up image of a black hole’s “shadow,” showing a dark heart surrounded by a ring of light created by photons zipping around it. Heino Falcke of Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, a member of the team that produced the image, said the first glimpse felt like “looking at the gates of hell.” That evocative image is Science’s 2019 Breakthrough of the Year.
Read more …