This is the very first image of a black hole. Eight radio telescopes around the world pooled data to create a picture of a gigantic black hole, 6bn times more massive than our sun, which is 53m light years away, at the centre of galaxy M87.
We have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen and taken a picture of a black hole.
You can't see inside a black hole because no light or electromagnetic radiation can escape its overwhelming gravitational pull. Instead, the international team has imaged the outer edge, the so-called event horizon, of black hole M87. It shows a bright ring of photons, light particles that would normally travel in a straight line, bent instead into a circular path by extreme gravity before they fall into the hole. Inside the ring, we see the shadow of the hole itself.
This would not have been possible with any individual observatory. But over the past two years, the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration has processed radio waves detected by the eight participating telescopes, which focused on M87 during one week. Combining their data created what is, in effect, an Earth-sized telescope.