Shadow of M87’s Supermassive Black Hole a year later!


The quest to capture the shadow of a black hole, a region from which no light can escape, has fascinated astronomers for decades. In a groundbreaking achievement, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration has provided us with unprecedented views of the supermassive black hole at the heart of the M87 galaxy. This remarkable endeavor not only confirms predictions from Einstein’s theory of general relativity but also opens new avenues for understanding these enigmatic cosmic phenomena.

The Event Horizon Telescope: A Global Effort

The EHT is not a single telescope but a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration. Designed to capture images of a black hole’s event horizon, this network operates by synchronizing telescope facilities across the world, thereby creating a virtual Earth-sized telescope with unmatched resolution.

Capturing the Black Hole’s Shadow

In April 2018, the EHT observed the black hole in M87, succeeding in capturing images that reveal the shadow of the black hole surrounded by a bright ring of swirling plasma. This shadow, consistent with theoretical predictions, is a direct result of the gravitational bending and capture of light by the black hole.

Key Findings and Technological Triumphs

  1. The Persistent Shadow:

Over multiple observation campaigns, the EHT has consistently captured the shadow of M87’s black hole, confirming the stability of its size and shape over time. This persistence supports the presence of a supermassive black hole as predicted by general relativity.

2. Technological Marvels:

Achieving this feat required advancements in very long baseline interferometry (VLBI), data processing, and image reconstruction techniques, showcasing the power of collaborative scientific endeavor.

Beyond the Shadow: Implications and Future Prospects

The observations of M87’s black hole provide invaluable insights into black hole physics, the behavior of accretion disks, and the dynamics of relativistic jets. As we refine our techniques and expand the EHT network, future observations promise to unravel more mysteries of the universe, testing the limits of our understanding of physics under extreme conditions.


The EHT’s observation of M87’s black hole represents a monumental step forward in our quest to understand the universe. As we stand on the brink of a new era of astronomical discovery, the shadow of M87’s black hole shines a light on the path ahead, beckoning us to delve deeper into the cosmos’s darkest corners.

Here are all the links to the resources I used:

The persistent shadow of the supermassive black hole of M 87:

Observational publication: First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. VII. Polarization of the Ring, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 910, L12, 24 March 2021 doi:10.3847/2041-8213/abe71d

Theory publication: First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. VIII. Magnetic Field Structure near The Event Horizon, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol. 910, L13, 24 March 2021 doi:10.3847/2041-8213/abe4de

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