Scientists and astronomers have managed to capture a photo of a black hole. It's the first time anyone has actually ever seen one.
In a world where it feels as if bad news is incredibly prevalent, the continued breakthroughs humankind is making beyond our atmosphere come as a welcome break. News that humanmade objects have traveled beyond our solar system for the first time ever, and the discovery that the surface of Mars was once covered with flowing rivers even bigger than Earth's.
A discovery unveiled by astronomers this week might well be the biggest scientific breakthrough in years. For the first time ever, scientists have managed to capture an image of a black hole. You can take a look at it for yourselves below. There has been so much talk of black holes in recent years that it's difficult to fathom that until now, no one had ever actually seen one.
The reason we are able to see this one in an image is due to the bright ring around it, reports The Guardian. That ring is made up of gas and dust being heated to billions of degrees and spun around the event horizon at close to the speed of light. The reason one half seems brighter is due to it being made up of particles being spun in our direction, whereas the other half of the circle is made up of particles moving away from us.
The black hole is situated in the galaxy M87 and the equivalent of six billion times our own sun has already disappeared into it. Don't worry too much though, we are watching from a distance of 55 million light years. As you might imagine, it has taken a lot of time and effort to capture these images. The work of eight telescopes around the world and 200 scientists, to be exact.
Even though we still know very little about black holes, even with these new images, we do know that the gravitational pull they generate warps reality so much that we wouldn't even recognize it. To give you an example, as you can see from the image, the gravity from the black hole bends light into a perfect loop. That means if you were stood alongside it, ignoring the fact that you would be long dead, you'd be able to see the back of your own head. Yeah don't worry, we can't wrap our minds around it either.