The first-ever direct image of a black hole‘s event horizon was a truly impressive feat of scientific ingenuity. But it was extremely difficult to achieve, and the resulting image was relatively low-resolution.
Techniques and technology will be refined, and it’s expected that future direct images of black holes will improve with time. In September 2019, a NASA visualisation – made for the agency’s Black Hole Week – showed what we might expect to see in high-resolution images of an actively accreting supermassive black hole.
Supermassive black holes sit at the centres of most large galaxies, and how they got there is a mystery; which came first, the black hole or the galaxy, is one of the big questions in cosmology.
What we do know is that they are really huge, as in millions or billions of times the mass of the Sun; that they can control star formation; that when they wake up and start feeding, they can become the brightest objects in the Universe. Over the decades, we have also figured out some of their strange dynamics […]