It's a historic day for astronomy, and perhaps the beginning of a new chapter in how we understand the universe and the fundamental laws of physics. Scientists on Wednesdayand you can watch the grand reveal right here.
This day, years in the making, is the product of the Event Horizon Telescope, which is a collaboration of several observatories around the world to form a radio telescope array as wide as Earth itself. You can learn more about the EHT and the. The main event started Wednesday at 6 a.m. PT.
Without further delay, here's the image everyone's been waiting for:
The image, the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow, reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the sun.
The embedded live feed above comes from a press conference taking place in Belgium, hosted by the European Research Council. Simultaneous press events will also take place in Santaigo, Chile in Spanish; Shanghai (Mandarin), Tokyo (Japanese); Taipei, Taiwan (Mandarin), and Washington, DC. (English).
Depending on what the first images of the mysterious and powerful cosmic object show scientists, it could help verify or cast doubt upon long-held ideas about gravity and the nature of existence itself. This is easily the most important photo of something 26,000 light-years away that you'll ever see.