Seeing a black hole has historically been something only possible in sci-fi. It’s also pretty much always spelt the death for anyone who lays their eyes on it. But thanks to modern science and over a decade of work, we now have the first ever image of a black hole.
That Sauron’s Eye looking orangey blob may not look like much, but that is a black hole’s event horizon. The closest thing we can get to the edge of space, an event horizon is the last possible point of light, and halos the point of no return.
In an incredible feat of modern science, we now have our first ever photo of a black hole event horizon, reaching far into deep space
The gravitational pull of a black hole is so strong that not even light can escape. This is what causes the orange halo as the event horizon is the last possible place light can be seen. As the intense gravity of the hole captures light, the light bends, creating the ring we can now observe.
Found in the M87 galaxy, the structure is about 53.4 million light-years away from Earth. And at about 100 billion kilometres wide, the hole is roughly the size of our solar system. The event horizon itself is about 40 billion kilometres wide and weighs about as much as 6.5 billion suns.
At this point, I’d like to thank science and black holes for contributing to my next existential crisis. Space is wild, man.