Team Behind the First-Ever Picture of a Black Hole Win $3 Million Prize

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This year saw one of the biggest photographs ever to be taken in the history of astrophotography when a massive team of scientists from across the globe worked together to capture the first-ever picture of a black hole.

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Black Hole Image from NSF

Now those scientists will be splitting a $3 million prize as part of their Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics award, something PetaPixel likens to the “Oscar of Science.”

There’s an awesome video from Harvard University that explains the process behind the capture of the black hole image. Basically, it required the coordinated efforts of land-based telescopes across the globe to coordinate their efforts to focus in on a black hole’s center and capture the ultra-hot ring of material that swirls around it.

You can watch that video by clicking here.

Project director Shep Doeleman from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said of the project, “What I predict is that by the end of the next decade we will be making high quality real-time movies of black holes that reveal not just how they look, but how they act on the cosmic stage…I've been working on this for 20 years. So my wife was finally convinced that what I was doing was worth it a little bit.”

He continued in his interview with Agence France Presse, “Orbits of matter around M87 take about a month to circulate. Whereas orbits around Sagittarius-A* can take only half an hour, during one night of observing Sagittarius-A* can change before your eyes…The EHT has delivered more value than any other scientific project that I can think of in history…We do see ourselves as explorers, we've taken a journey in our minds. And we are instruments at the edge of a black hole. And now we're coming back to report what we found.”

As always, we’d love to know your thoughts about the world’s first black hole picture ever. You can leave them in the comments below.

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

[PetaPixel, Phys.org, AFP]

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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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