The Atlantic

An Extraordinary Image of the Black Hole at a Galaxy’s Heart

Never before have scientists photographed the darkest points in the universe.
Source: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al

At the darkest points in the universe, their boundaries perilous and invisible, space warps. In a black hole, the force of gravity is so strong that anything that comes near, whether a puff of cosmic dust or an entire blazing star, is swallowed and devoured. The light sinks past a point of no return and into an unknown realm that can only be imagined.

Black holes sound like an invention of science fiction, but they’re as real as the stars and planets and moons—they’re everywhere, millions and millions of them scattered across the cosmos. Mysterious as they are, they can be found.

Astronomers have detected black holes in the whirling movements of stars. They have detected them in bright beacons of ejected particles, the cosmic burps of . They have even detected them in gravitational waves, the faint ripples that distort the very makeup of space and time when .

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