The Event Horizon Telescope is expanding its portfolio of black hole images.
In 2019, the telescope unveiled the first image of a black hole, revealing the supermassive beast 55 light-years from Earth at the center of galaxy M87 (SN: 4/10/19). That lopsided orange ring showed the shadow of the black hole on its glowing accretion disk of infalling material. Since then, observations from the Event Horizon Telescope, or EHT, have yielded more detailed views of M87’s black hole (SN: 9/23/20). Now, EHT data have revealed new details of the supermassive black hole at the heart of a galaxy near our own, called Centaurus A.
Rather than zooming in close enough to see the black hole’s shadow, the new picture offers the clearest view yet of the powerful plasma jets erupting from the black hole. This perspective gives insight into how supermassive black holes blast such plasma jets into space, researchers report online July 19 in Nature Astronomy.