Harvard history of science professor Peter L. Galison, a collaborator on Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), said that scientists proposed theoretical arguments for black holes as early as 1916. It was not until the 1970s, however, that researchers substantiated the theory by observing extremely dense areas of matter. Scientists announced in 2016 that, for the first time, they had detected gravitational waves — which many argued were produced by black holes merging, and therefore were evidence that black holes exist.
“You’re basically looking at a supermassive black hole that’s almost the size of our solar system,” or 38 billion kilometers in diameter, said Sera Markoff, an astrophysicist at the University of Amsterdam about today’s picture of the supermassive black hole at the center of elliptical galaxy M87 shown above.
The human species is soon to see the first picture of that mysterious, iconic, invisible object Princeton physicist John Archibald Wheeler dubbed a black hole that lurks at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. On Wednesday, astronomers across the globe will hold “six major press conferences” simultaneously to announce the first results of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a virtual telescope with an effective diameter of the Earth—that has been pointing at the Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole for the last several years.