First Photo Of Supermassive Black Hole Revealed

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit
The photo of the black hole, which appears as a blurry orange ring-shaped blobl.
EHT | EHT Collaboration

Another historic moment has happened in the world of space research as scientists reveal the first-ever photo of the supermassive black hole that sits in the center of our very own galaxy.

What was a major project involving tons of people around the world, we now not only have evidence that there is a black hole in the middle of the Milkyway, but we know the sheer size of it and what it looks like, meaning further research can be conducted.

Did you know there's a supermassive black hole in our galaxy?

The stars above a mountain range, extremely clear in the sky.
Unsplash | Denis Degioanni

It sits approximately 27,000 light-years away from us, right in the center of our shared galaxy. It's not classified as 'supermassive' just for fun either, it measures about 4 million times the mass of our sun, and we've never been able to see it before.

That is, until recently.

The photo of the black hole, which appears as a blurry orange ring-shaped blobl.
EHT | EHT Collaboration

The first photo of the black hole, named Sagittarius A*, was revealed just yesterday. Astronomers were able to take the photo using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), with this photo being confirmation of a long-standing speculation that there is, in fact, a black hole at the center of our galaxy.

As you may recall, this isn't the first photo of a black hole to be released.

A photo of the first-ever black hole captured on camera, another blurry orange ring that appears a bit smaller than the first.
EHT | EHT Collaboration

That happened in 2019, when an organization of over 200 astronomers from around the world came together to photograph the black hole in the center of the Messier 87 galaxy.

The two photos are similar, showing the black hole's shadow and the surrounding gas illuminated in bright orange.

The process behind capturing this new photo is extremely impressive.

It involved eight radio telescopes in six cities around the world, including cities in Chile, Mexico, Spain, Hawaii, Arizona, and the South Pole. When they're used together, they act like a giant telescope that can take rather detailed images.

This picture helped researchers learn a lot about Sagittarius A*.

A diagram comparing the two black holes' size.
EHT | EHT Collaboration

The photo revealed that this black hole is actually spinning, and it's tilted in a way that its edge is facing the earth.

Astronomers are hoping that projects like this will only help them learn more about black holes and their role in early universe formation, as well as the role they play today.

It's not only astronomers capitalizing off this discovery either!

Believe it or not, Krispy Kreme has decided to celebrate the historic moment in space research by offering free donuts today only. NASA employee Megan Watzke said this was one of the more "practical results" to come out of her field.

They aren't totally wrong either, it does look like a donut.

h/t: CBC