Supermassive black hole’s photon ring revealed in new image

A newly remastered image of the black hole at the heart of the galaxy Messier 87 (M87) peels back the layers of the black hole to reveal photons thrown by the object’s enormous gravitational influence.

The black hole at the heart of M87, located 55 million light-years from Earth, has been the subject of Event Horizon Telescopefirst-ever image of a black hole, released in 2019. The image, which closely resembled theoretical predictions of what supermassive black holes and their immediate surroundings should look like, showed a golden ring of material racing around the outer edge of the black hole, the light-trapping surface called the event horizon. But hidden by this material, astronomers expected to find an artifact of the black hole’s gravitational influence, a thin, bright circle called a photon ring.

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