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 55 million light-years away from Earth. This supermassive black hole is believed to be seven billion times bigger than our sun. While incredibly difficult to wrap one’s head around the size and significance of this, astronomer Shep Doelman (who helmed the effort) puts it simply: “We’ve exposed a part of our universe we’ve never seen before.” Read and see more at the New York Times.