New photo offers an even better look at black hole M87

The black hole at the center of galaxy M87 has been imaged with a higher resolution than before. We owe this improved picture to an additional telescope in Greenland, within the global network of the Event Horizon Telescope.

In 2019, the world witnessed an image of a black hole for the very first time. On this image there was the supermassive black hole M87*, which is located 55 million light-years away from Earth, in the core of galaxy M87. The image was the work of a global network of telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). The measurements on which the photo was based were from 2017.

The well-known Dutch astronomer Ewine van Dishoeck and her team were given the unique opportunity to use the James Webb telescope to ...

Now the EHT collaboration has released a follow-up recording of M87*. This is the result of an observation round in 2018 with a new EHT network telescope located in Greenland.

“This image confirms that the shadow of the black hole is permanent, it is still there,” says EHT scientist Eduardo Ros. 'We see that the ring is a beautiful circle. It is very round, it is not an ellipse or anything else.”

The ring in the photo lights up brightly at the bottom. That is according to expectations. It is the result of distortions in spacetime – described by Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity – that arise because the black hole rotates. Compared to the previous photo, the spot has shifted slightly, which was also as predicted.

One additional telescope immediately means a large increase in the amount of data with which the measurements from the other telescopes can be compared.