How Scientists Took a Picture of the Black Hole at the Heart of Messier 87

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Taking a picture of a black hole was not only a big deal for science, but it was also huge for the field of photography as well.

sky space dark galaxy
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

Now, for those of us interested in the science behind taking a picture of something that pulls in all light that gets near it, the National Science Found is explaining exactly how the Event Horizon Telescope took pictures of the center of Messier 87.

Put together by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the video documentary describes how this monumental event came together.

As for why Messier 87 was chosen, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory at Harvard explains, “M87 is an elliptical galaxy in the Virgo galaxy cluster, about 60 million light years away from Earth. For years, scientists have known that a supermassive black hole weighing several billion times the mass of the Sun sits at the center of M87. Surrounding the elliptical galaxy is a reservoir of multimillion-degree gas, which glows brightly in X-ray light. Chandra's studies of this hot gas have given astronomers insight into the behavior and properties of the giant black hole.”

The hope is that the methodology used to capture the supermassive black hole at the center of Messier 87 will be applied to future projects to take pictures of other things in space.

If you missed our coverage of the release of the pictures of the black hole, you can catch up on that by clicking here.

What did you think of the National Science Foundation’s pictures of a black hole? Have you kept up with the Event Horizon Telescope? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to check out our other photography news articles on Light Stalking by clicking here.

[DPReview]

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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