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 flung around by the object’s tremendous gravitational influence.

The black hole at the heart of M87, which is located 55 million light-years away from Earth, was the subject of the Event Horizon Telescopefirst-ever image of a black hole, released in 2019. The picture, which closely resembled theoretical predictions of what super massive black holes and their immediate environment 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 gravitational influence of the black hole, a thin, bright circlet called a photon ring.

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