You’ve Never Seen a Picture of a Black Hole…Until Now


Credit to Astron

The first ever image of a black hole captured by the Event Horizon telescope

Avery Pollock, Staff Reporter

In today’s modern age, most would characterize a black hole as, well, a giant black hole that sucks up everything around it. While this is not scientifically accurate, perfectly describing a black hole has caused complications even among the most proclaimed astrophysicists, so describing a black hole in this way tends to be the most popular way of understating them. Ever since 1916, when Karl Schwarzschild first interpreted black holes, scientists have never had a real visual image of a black hole. That is until recently when the Event Horizon telescope captured the very first image of a black hole.

Every picture that the public has seen of a black has not been a picture at all. It has been a computer simulation of one. So, why have scientists not had an earlier picture of one? Well, to put it simply, black holes do not give off visible light. ScienceNews explains this in further detail: “Luckily, there’s a way to “see” a black hole without peering into the abyss itself. Telescopes can look instead for the silhouette of a black hole’s event horizon — the perimeter inside which nothing can be seen or escape — against its accretion disk. That’s what the Event Horizon Telescope, or EHT, did in April 2017, collecting data that has now yielded the first image of a massive black hole, the one inside the galaxy M87.” Since black holes do not give off reliable sources of light, the only way that scientists were able to take this incredible picture was with a telescope the size of planet Earth. But how is this possible? Well, according to the official Event Horizon Telescope website, “The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration — was designed to capture images of a black hole.” With this collaboration, the range and zoom of these telescopes working in unison helped produce the image of the black hole. Logan Steele, junior at Wade Hampton High School and science enthusiast, is excited about this incredible image: “Black holes are pretty complicated, so it’s really cool to be able to actually see one with the naked eye millions of light years away.”

While the science behind black holes can confuse even the most intelligent individuals, it is still undoubtedly astonishing to be able to live in a time where the first ever image of one was produced. Even though today’s generation was not around when the Earth was first explored, they will all remember when history was made, and the very first image of a black hole was taken.