The phrase “black hole” was coined because black holes suck all light in, leaving nothing optical to observe. Yet humans have managed to take photos of these mystic supermassive space objects lightyears away.
As we appreciate the first photo of a black hole on the Milky Way, let’s check out some interesting things you may want to know.
Why can’t we ‘see’ black holes?
Humans see things through the reflection of visible light. We cannot visually see a black hole because it is so massive that it pulls light in with gravity – a bit like how Earth pulls us onto its surface.
How did scientists photograph the black hole then?
Scientists are humans and they cannot see black holes either. But they can use advanced technologies to monitor objects around the black hole to learn about it.
In addition to pulling things toward itself, a black hole can also significantly twist the space around it. This also provides data for scientists to visualize it.
For the photo published on Thursday, scientists from many countries around the globe used observatories to form a virtual, Earth-sized telescope to capture the image.
Is this the first ever photo of a black hole?
No. This is only the first photo of a black hole that is located along the Milky Way named Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*).
The first photo of a black hole was revealed back in 2019 by the same project, called Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration. The EHT is the giant telescope mentioned above.