The Revolutionary Picture of the M87 Blackhole

William Leach, Co-Editor

On April 10th, 2019, scientist made history with revealing the first ever photo of a black hole. The M87 Blackhole, like all black holes, consumes all the matter around it, including light. The lack of a light source made blackholes nearly invisible, and impossible to take a picture of. Due to the collaborations between scientists and a West Layafette graduate named Katie Bouman, this impossible feat was achieved. Bouman played a major role in making this blackhole picture possible. With all of their hard work and years of dedication, they’ve given the world the first picture of a black hole.

A black hole is a dense object with such a strong gravitational that it takes in all radiation and matter around it. The M87 is what is known as a supermassive black hole, it’s larger than most common blackholes. Its diameter is around 2.98 million times larger than the Earths. This black hole can hold our entire galaxy in its core. The power and size of this black hole are truly astounding.

This black hole picture resembles a blurry stain on a camera lens or a headlight out of focus but it’s much more than that. The M87 is over 55 million light years away from Earth. It’s one of the biggest structures humans have ever photographed. Although its distance from the Earth makes it incredibly hard to see in the sky. It took the collaboration of multiple telescopes across the globe to see this thing. It took nearly 2 years to process all of the data that was collected in order to see this picture.

What we’re really seeing here isn’t the black hole itself, it’s simply the shadow of it. The light that’s been trapped into M87’s orbit is making up the image that we see. What came out of it was a glimpse at our mysterious but beautiful galaxy. The reveal of this black hole has opened our eyes to our ever-expanding universe and keeps us wondering what’s next to come.