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Working together as a “virtual telescope,” observatories around the world produce first direct images of a black hole.

Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office
April 10, 2019

Images reveal supermassive black hole at the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy.

                              Credit: EHT Collaboration

An international team of over 200 astronomers, including scientists from MIT’s Haystack Observatory, has captured the first direct images of a black hole. They accomplished this remarkable feat by coordinating the power of eight major radio observatories on four continents, to work together as a virtual, Earth-sized telescope.

In a series of papers published today in a special issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters, the team has revealed four images of the supermassive black hole at the heart of Messier 87, or M87, a galaxy within the Virgo galaxy cluster, 55 million light years from Earth.

All four images show a central dark region surrounded by a ring of light that appears lopsided — brighter on one side than the other. ……….

Credit : MIT News Office, Jennifer Chu, April 10, 2019

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