Washington, Apr 10: Scientists released the much-awaited first direct image of a massive black hole at the centre of Messier 87, a galaxy which is about 54 million light-years away, at the National Press Club here on Wednesday.
The image has been taken by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which is a network of 10 radio telescopes spread across the planet, according to The Washington Post. The telescope functioned as if it is a single receiver, tuned to high-frequency radio waves, to take the image.
The picture - released at six simultaneous news conferences on Wednesday - shows the event horizon, which is the boundary between light and dark around a black hole. A doughnut-like body can be seen in the portrait, which scientists say is the dark silhouette of the black hole against the hot, glowing material that surrounds it.
"We are able to image one more object in the universe that ... at one point people thought could not be possible. It hits that human explorer spirit. We got another look into the unknown," Feryal Ozel, a member of the science council for the EHT said, calling the occasion her career's highlight.
The shape of the black hole matches what theorists had predicted ever since they started wrestling with Albert Einstein, General Theory of Relatively over a hundred years ago, reports The Washington Post.
The European Commission hailed the occasion as a "paradigm shift" adding, "This major scientific achievement marks a paradigm shift in our understanding of black holes, confirms the predictions of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and opens up new lines of enquiry into our universe."
Scientists release first-ever picture of a black hole