The First Captured Black Hole

What Is A Black Hole And Who Discovered it?

A black hole is “a region of space having a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape,” including light. Scientists have researched and theorized about black holes for over one hundred years. The theory of a black hole was first theorized by Albert Einstein in 1916, with the theory of relativity. However, the term black hole was coined by the American astronomer, John Wheeler.

Black holes, we all know, are these regions where if an object falls in, it can’t get out, but the puzzle that many struggled with over the decades is, what happens to the information that an object contains when it falls into a black hole. Is it simply lost?”

— Brian Greene

Laurine Moreau
A diagram of a black hole.

The Types:

  • Stellar Black Holes (Smallest Size)- occurs when a massive star collapses.
  • Supermassive Black Holes (Largest Size)- a black hole the size of billions of our solar system’s suns.
  • Intermediate Black Holes (Medium Size)- in between stellar and supermassive.
  • The Theoretical Miniature Black Hole- smaller than our solar system’s sun.

The First Photograph

The Event Horizon Telescope
The first captured picture of supermassive black hole at the center of M87, a galaxy 54 million light years away.

The first image of a black hole has been released by the Event Horizon Telescope on April 10th, though the first black hole was discovered almost fifty years ago in 1971.

Scientists believe that the nearest black hole (V4647 Sagitarii) is 20,000 light years away, after previously being believed to only be 1,600 light years away. This isn’t the only reason why it took so long to capture the picture though. A major reason that it took so long to capture a picture of a black hole is that they are hard to spot. Space and black holes are both dark, making the black hole extremely difficult to see on the dark background of space. Another reason that pictures of black holes are so difficult to capture is that they black holes are a vacuum due to extreme gravity they pull in everything, including light. Even the photo that was finally captured and released took a lot of work; many connected radio observations created a networked called, the Event Horizon Telescope, in order to capture the photo they did.