Photo Released Of “Black Hole” Makes History

( — Scientists have produced the first-ever full-resolution photograph of a black hole. Nicknamed the “Orange Donut,” it is located in the Messier 87 galaxy, around 55 million light-years from Earth. Observers say it will help us to understand black holes as never before, including how and why the enormous phenomena “eat” matter. It could also help us better comprehend the black hole at the center of our own galaxy, known as Sagittarius A*.

Thanks to the image, scientists say they have already made a new discovery. The central region of the hole is larger and darker than thought. The ring that surrounds the hole, which is orange in color, is said to be brighter than previously believed. The photo was captured using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).

The EHT is a “virtual telescope” which combines images from a network of synchronized radio observatories around the world. Because the image is created from a variety of telescopes, it is missing some data, and as such, artificial intelligence is used to bridge the gaps.

Lia Medeiros, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, said, “With our new machine learning technique, PRIMO, we were able to achieve the maximum resolution of the current array.”

Black holes remain however one of the most mysterious phenomena in the universe. NASA describes them as a hole in space with so much gravity that light cannot escape. They can’t be seen with the naked eye but we know they come in a variety of sizes. The Orange Donut is in the category of supermassive black holes, which are the largest yet to be observed.

It is unknown where black holes came from but scientists believe they have existed since the universe began. They also believe they are formed when stars collapse inward. A supermassive black hole is the size of millions of the Earth’s suns. Sagittarius A*, which sits at the center of the Milky Way, has a mass equal to 4 million suns and several million planets the size of Earth would fit it into its center.

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