University of Illinois produces first image of a black hole

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign revealed Thursday the first ever look at our galaxy’s black hole.

"It's been a big secret for many months and we're finally able to discuss it now," said UIUC professor of physics and astronomy Dr. Charles Gammie.

The animated image looks like a flaming orange donut. Turns out, that’s exactly what UIUC researchers predicted it would look like. The ring is exactly the right size to be consistent with Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

The images were made possible by a collaboration of 300 scientists globally, using eight radio telescopes positioned around the world.


"This imaging process involves taking data from each of those telescopes now and combining it in a computer to guess what the image actually looks like," said Dr. Gammie.

The university built cutting edge computer models of what they expected the telescopes to see.

"Then we run them on the largest super computers in the world, so our job is to sort of explain what it all means," said Dr. Gammie.

The black hole is 27,000 light years away from Earth. There are others in our galaxy, but none have been imaged like this.