From the Editors

by SHF

published April 12, 2019

The image appeared in a Facebook message with no context: a fuzzy, orange ring. “Are we looking an accretion disk?” I asked. “Black hole!” came the response. “It’s even got the jets...” Sure enough. The image was taken using data from eight radio telescopes at once, forming a composite telescope the size of the earth, thanks to an algorithm by computer scientist Katie Bouman. It shows a distant black hole with the mass of six billion suns. That’s so heavy that its gravity bends light, giving its signature halo shape. This also means that if you could somehow sit at the event horizon without being dismembered, you would see the back of your head. If you look closely at the image, you can even detect faint jets of material splurting from the poles, just as sci-fi illustrations predicted. This is cool, friends. Happy week.