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The images are captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), an global cooperation program jointly established by more than 200 researchers around the world. It's about 26,000 light years away, and looks like a tiny dot from Earth, despite having a mass approximately four times that of the sun.

Pinpointing the location of an accretion disc is the key to mapping the black hole it orbits.

"Science fiction has become science fact", Avery Broderick, an astronomer at the University of Waterloo, said at press conference where the image was first shown to the public. "I have seen many lovely, detailed images of black holes - but all were just simulations".

They are so powerful that nothing near them - not even light - can escape their gravitational draw.

The scientists said Einstein's theory predicted the shape of the shadow would be nearly a flawless circle - as it turned out to be.

The circular nature of the black hole in the image also helps confirm Einstein's theory of general relativity, which predicted that shape.

The picture will be the first time an image has been snapped of the mysterious, swirling phenomenon deep in our galaxy. It shows visual evidence of the event horizon of a black hole and allow us to see something previously thought to be invisible.

The light you see here is what's called the accretion disk.

There is so much data being collected that the image we will see on Wednesday was actually created back in 2017. The black hole in question is about seven billion times more massive than our sun, and was described by the Times as "a smoke ring framing a one-way portal to eternity". "It is an absolute monster, the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe".

More photos are expected to be revealed as more telescopes come online.

What we're seeing here is the effects of the incredible gravitational pull of the black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy, causing light to be bent around the black hole itself, and revealing the black hole's "shadow" near the center.

"Black holes are extremely dense pockets of matter, objects of such incredible mass and miniscule volume that they drastically warp the fabric of space-time", explains the National Science Foundation, on its website.


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