Blue Marble, meet Black Shadow.
In what Carlos Moedas, the European commissioner of research, called “a huge breakthrough for humanity,” the Event Horizon Telescope team revealed the first-ever image of the “shadow” of a black hole.
The color-shifted image, an ethereal swirling glow encircling a stark black disc, shows millimeter-wave radiation surrounding a black hole at the center of M87, a galaxy more than 50 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo.
Created using data from eight radio telescopes around the earth run by a global consortium of scientific institutions, the Event Horizon Telescope’s image could prove as much of an iconic image of a black hole as the 1972 photo taken from Apollo 17 is of our planet. A milestone in black hole astronomy, it is the first direct visual evidence of an object once thought to be an mathematical artifact, a glitch in Albert Einstein’s geometric model of gravity, the general theory of relativity.