The Very First Picture of A Black Hole!

If this is the first time your eyes have seen this photo (Which chances are unlikely because it's absolutely blown up in media) then congratulations! You are now seeing your very first REAL black hole. You see, before this image, humanity could detect something causing the mass around them to move but we have never actually proven it with a photo, until now. Not only is this picture just phenomenal to see, but it actually gives light to the theories and predictions of the shape and size of a real black hole. Well, actually it doesn't give any light to the theories, but that's because the black hole sucked all the light up and ate it. And that is exactly what you are seeing in this image here. Matter and particles of light are warped around this black hole with so much force that the light inside can't escape. The gravity pulling on light particles is way too strong for light to emit anything forward, so it does the opposite, it retracts. You may be thinking to yourself, "wow I actually see the entire black hole!" well, you are kind of right, but kind of wrong too.

You see, the black circle in the middle of the image you see is called the event horizon. It's the point at which light is under such stress it seemingly isn't moving. Any light beyond this point is totally un-observable because it's frozen in space-time, so it seems to us anyway. The actual black hole is about 1/3 smaller than the even horizons distance, but we can deduce that since the event horizon is a circle to us, so is the black hole. We also have to take into account that observing this photo, we are simply recording light emitted from this distant object. So certainly the black hole is warping the image right? Yes! That is exactly why this image looks the way it does. Image a single light particle coming in at the top of the black hole, then wrapping all the way around it until it comes back and hits you in the eye. That is exactly what you see here, so needless to say - at least in this image, the bottom is really the top, and the top is really the bottom. But the top is also sort of the top, and the bottom is sort of the bottom. Confusing right? Well that's why black holes are notoriously hard to "wrap your head around" so to speak.

Another neat thing to consider is that there will be some light rays that actually enter and orbit the black hole for a long time. That's why if you ever tried to approach a black hole (lets pretend like you wouldn't be ripped apart atom by atom under the pressure) then by the time you hit that orbit of light and looked forward. You would see the back of your own head... For a loooooooong time. Because the light emitted from that position would just go around the black hole entirely. Finally! I surefire way to give yourself a proper haircut.

I know what you're thinking. Why is a technology blog posting about a black hole. Well they are awesome, can't argue that - But also we have to admire the technology we used to get this photo. It took several telescopes and bit-by-bit recording to obtain this. Even though it's "blurry" Id like to see you try and snap this with your phone camera... What a time to be alive.