Cool

Images from the edge of a black hole:

An important thing to remember about science is that some of the stuff we talk about in the general public as “fact” — like, say, black holes — haven’t actually been seen by anybody. Instead, black holes exist on paper, as part of theoretical astrophysics. They also exist in indirect evidence — we can look for things in the universe that should exist in a certain way, in a certain place, if our theoretical astrophysics is correct. So far, that lines up, too.


And then there’s this thing. Like I say, it’s not a photo. It’s more like a model. Telescopes — the kind we point at deep space — don’t collect images, they collect information. This is a digital rendering made based on information collected when researchers pointed four different telescopes at a galaxy called (poetically) galaxy M87. What you’re looking at (in the big image) is a jet of photons shooting out of galaxy M87. The smaller picture is a zoomed-in shot, showing massive ribbons of gas undulating and spinning around the something at the galaxy’s center. If the theoretical astrophysics is right, this is the closest we’ve ever gotten to seeing a black hole.