This story has been corrected to show that the black hole is located in the M87 galaxy, and not the Milky Way. We will, however, mention that any doubts about the presence of black holes were effectively removed when LIGO, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, picked up a collision of two distant black holes, sending a shiver through the space-time fabric.
The nuclei disappear below the horizon, the much lighter electrons get caught up in the black hole's intense magnetic field and tosses them around at high speed. "We have seen and taken a picture of a black hole", said Sheperd Doeleman of Harvard University. "We saw something that really had a ring to it if you can use that phrase".
"UM contributed to the project", said Dr Juan Carlos Algaba, a VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) expert of the Radio Cosmology Laboratory in the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science in UM.
Astrophysicist Dimitrios Psaltis of the University of Arizona, the EHT project scientist, said, "The size and shape of the shadow matches the precise predictions of Einstein's general theory of relativity, increasing our confidence in this century-old theory". It's a comprehensive explanation of gravity that the former patent clerk thought of in 1915 before computers and with much weaker telescopes. It was revealed today after years of worldwide collaboration between over 200 global astronomers. "So often in my experience, nature wants to be beautiful". The outcome takes us a step closer to understanding the origins of the universe. He wasn't part of the discovery team.
"Obtaining an image of a black hole is not as easy as snapping a photo with an ordinary camera", the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, a US research center, wrote on its website. Those facts led astronomers to surmise that M87 hosts an active supermassive black hole in its center, and the newly released images seem to confirm that. The event horizon stretches about the breadth of our solar system.
At the centre of each black hole is a singularity or a point where the black hole's density is infinitely squeezed into an infinitely small amount of space.
"I am also a part of the data processing and imaging teams, so was heavily involved in processing/ validating/checking the data and turning them into the images", he told The Star in an email interview. But black holes also dramatically affect their surrounding space, most obviously by creating an accretion disk - the swirl of gas and material that rapidly orbits their singularities.
The project cost $50 million to $60 million, with $26 million of that coming from the National Science Foundation. It took a team of more than 200 astronomers to pull this off, along with eight massive radio telescopes organized into the "Event Horizon Telescope" or ETH. With M87, it deviated from flawless circularity by less than 10 percent.
"It required the unbelievable talent of a team of scientists from around the globe and years of hard work to develop the instrument, data processing, imaging methods, and analysis techniques that were necessary to pull off this seemingly impossible feat", she said on Facebook.
Supermassive black holes may sound pretty big, but they are actually relatively small in the grand scheme of the universe.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.