BLACK holes were initially the preserve of maths and physics experts or even sci-fi writers but now the first photograph of one has been released.
Experts have called it “a huge breakthrough for humanity”.
EHT spent 13 years trying to photograph a black hole
What is a black hole made of?
Most black holes are made when a supergiant star dies.
This happens when stars run out of fuel – like hydrogen – to burn, causing the star to collapse.
When this happens, gravity pulls the centre of the star inwards quickly, and collapses into a tiny ball.
It expands and contracts until one final collapse, causing part of the star to collapse inward thanks to gravity, and the rest of the star to explode outwards.
The remaining central ball is extremely dense, and if it’s especially dense, you get a black hole.
They are called black holes because nothing can escape; they have an extremely strong gravitational pull, so anything that goes in can’t come back out.
Who discovered them?
Karl Schwarzschild came up with the first modern solution to Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity in 1916.
However David Finkelstein in 1958 came up with its interpretation as a region in space where nothing can escape.
Initially black holes were considered just to be a mathematical curiosity but it was the discovery of neutron stars by Jocelyn Bell Burnell in 1967 that sparked interest in gravitationally collapsed objects as an actual reality.
PA:Press Association European Southern Observatory of scientists revealing the first ever image of a black hole at an Event Horizon Telescope press conference
When was the first picture released?
The first picture was released on April 10, 2019.
The groundbreaking snap was captured by space scientists using telescopes across the planet in a find that experts have boasted is “a huge breakthrough for humanity”.
The black hole, described by scientists as a “monster”, is 24billion miles across – 3million times the size of the Earth.
Sitting about 300 million trillion miles away from our planet, it was photographed by a network of eight telescopes across the globe known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).
When used together, the telescopes combine with the power of a single telescope “the size of our planet”, scientists said.
The black hole is so far away, that taking a photo of it is equivalent to snapping a DVD on the surface of the moon.
The EHT spent 13 years attempting to photograph a black hole and its first results were presented at a conference in Brussels.
Current theories suggest that black holes are invisible because they have a gravitational pull so strong that they suck in light.
But this makes the area of space around them relatively easy to pick out, with a black circle shaped void in the middle.
PA:Press Association This is the first time a picture of a black hole has been taken
Animated video explains some of the nuts and bolts behind the Event Horizon Telescope