First-Ever Photo of a Supermassive Black Hole

Truly a quantum leap, astronomers have “seen the unseeable” and captured an image of a supermassive black hole—a “smoke ring framing a one-way portal to eternity,” Dennis Overbye writes for the New York Times. A planet-sized network of eight radio telescopes—called the Event Horizon Telescope—peered through interstellar dust and gas to reveal the black hole, located in a galaxy called Messier 87, which exists some …

300,000 Possible Galaxies Discovered

A project helmed by an international team of astronomers has resulted in the discovery of some 300,000 “previously unseen light sources” that are believed to be distant galaxies. This new map of the night sky was revealed using the incredibly powerful Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope, with many of the light sources sending radio signals for billions of light years until they reach Earth. (One …

Farewell to NASA’s Kepler Telescope

Kepler—the beloved NASA telescope responsible for discovering 70% of the 3,800 confirmed “alien worlds” to date—officially met its end yesterday. After nearly a decade of exploration, the telescope ran out of fuel and can no longer transmit data or focus on transient objects in space. During its time in flight the Kepler was able to study nearly 150,000 stars simultaneously and could determine exactly which ones …