6 Facts about the First Black Hole Picture

The first ever picture of a black hole picture published across six scientific papers in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters on April 10 is considered a remarkable achievement because it is not a computer simulation – but the real deal. Here are six facts about the picture:

1.Who took the picture? The research was conducted by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, an international collaboration involving about 200 scientists begun in 2012. The announcement was made in simultaneous news conferences in Washington, Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo.

2. Location: The center of Messier 87, or M87, a massive galaxy residing in the center of the relatively nearby Virgo galaxy cluster.

3. Distance from Earth: Resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun [2].

4. Equipment used: The image was obtained using data collected in April 2017 from eight powerful radio telescopes in six locations that essentially create a planet-sized observational dish.

5. Name: The first picture of black hole is pÕwehi. According to The New York Times, the word is derived from the Kumulipo, a centuries-old Hawaiian creation chant of 2,102 lines, and it means “the adorned fathomless dark creation.” It stems from “pÕ,” which means powerful, unfathomable and ceaseless creation, and “wehi,” an honorific befitting someone who would wear a crown. Larry Kimura, an associate professor of Hawaiian language and studies at the University of Hawai’i gave the name.

6. Relevance: Strongly validated the theory of general relativity proposed in 1915 by Einstein, the famed theoretical physicist, to explain the laws of gravity and their relation to other natural forces.