First-Ever Photo Of A Black Hole, Explained | USA TODAY


the first-ever picture of a black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the
Virgo constellation. We have the FAQs. Scientists, for the first time in history, have captured an image of a black hole. But there is one issue, this isn’t an image of
a black hole itself. This is the light that
reflects off of the stuff that is being sucked into the black hole and with the black holes
being, well, black, we can only see what’s
called the “event horizon,” or the edge of the black hole where light can’t escape. Taking a picture of a black hole is like taking a picture of a closet. You can see the doors,
but you have no idea what’s actually in there. And the scary thing about this closet is that nothing can ever get out. Spooky, right? It’s time for Black Holes 101 and it’s about to get really strange. (screaming) “Welcome, transdimensional visitors. Black holes are collapsed stars with gravity so strong, that nothing, not even light, can escape them. And when these collapsed
stars consume energy or matter they grow, but not like what you think. While the surface area of
a black hole may expand, its volume doesn’t, which
is completely different to most things in the universe. It’d be like if you ate a whole pizza but instead of weighing more, you’d stretch and grow a few centimeters. Cool, so black holes are
hungry space monsters that can never be satisfied. “Cookie!” Doesn’t that mean they’ll eventually suck up
everything in the universe and we’ll all be doomed? Well, not actually. Scientist Stephen Hawking, who popularized the science behind black holes, theorized in 1974, that
black holes emitted a type of radiation. According to this theory, Hawking Radiation can escape a black hole thanks to some quantum level drama that happens near the event horizon. This means a black hole
could lose mass bit by bit. After a long, long time the
black hole would evaporate, so you don’t really need to worry about Earth being sucked into one. Weird, right? In fact, black holes are so weird some scientists theorize that
they are a two-dimensional optical illusion, leading to theories the universe is one big hologram. So, the next time you look up at the stars and wonder about what’s out there, you can smile knowing that we, humans, are inching, bit by bit,
to a clearer picture of the universe or at least
perhaps a clearer picture of the crazy things that happen at the edge of a black hole.

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