This crescent-shape image is the best fit to observations of Sgr A*,
the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, according
to a January 2013 study. CREDIT: Kamruddin/Dexter

What Will First Photos of Black Holes Look Like?

by Clara Moskowitz, SPACE Assistant Managing Editor
Date: 18 January 2013 Time: 06:00 AM ET

A giant black hole is thought to lurk at the center of the Milky Way, but it has never been directly seen. Now astronomers have predicted what the first pictures of this black hole will look like when taken with technology soon to be available.

In particular, researchers have found that pictures of a black hole ? or, more precisely, the boundaries around them ? will take a crescent form, rather than the blobby shape that is often predicted.

By modeling what these pictures will look like, scientists say they are preparing to interpret the photos that will become available from telescopes currently under construction.

“No one has been able to image a black hole,” said University of California, Berkeley student Ayman Bin Kamruddin, who presented a poster on the research last week in Long Beach, Calif., at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society. “So far it’s been impossible because they’re too small in the sky. Right now we’re just getting some details about the structure, but we don’t have an image yet.”

Read more: What Will First Photos of Black Holes Look Like? | Event Horizon Telescope | Space.

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