This is a big week for space—including news from our local planets, crazy rockets from NASA making jellyfish rainbows in the sky, and oh, no big deal, just the first-ever photo of a black hole. That’s right: After nearly 100 years of scratching our heads, drawing out pictures, making computer models, and generally relying on Gargantua from the movie Interstellar to tell us what a black hole looks like, now we finally have an idea.
On Wednesday, the Event Horizon Telescope team released a long-awaited photo of the ultramassive black hole at the center of the M87 galaxy. Here are a few things to know: M87 is 55 million light years away, so our new black hole photo is really only new to us. That light left the area around the black hole just shortly before the dinosaurs vanished.
This ultramassive black hole is also called ultramassive for a reason, mainly being equivalent to 6.5 billion of our Suns. What's more, the black hole is actually dormant. It has sucked up so much material from its home galaxy that it can’t take in any more, so it’s just sort of sitting there quietly, the way you might after a particularly filling meal.
After we pry ourselves from the grip of the black hole, we will head back to our solar system and pop over to Mars and Jupiter, where we’ll investigate some mysterious dust devil tracks and some atmospheric heating in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Buck up, this week in the great beyond is going to be intense.
Piqued by all the space news? Gorge on WIRED's full collection here .
- Why a new crop of electric SUV batteries come up short
- Is it OK to make your dog vegan ?
- Coding is for everyone—as long as you speak English
- Celebrating Tower Bridge, London's engineering marvel
- The body pullers of Raqqa, Syria
- 👀 Looking for the latest gadgets? Check out our latest buying guides and best deals all year round
- 📩 Want more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss our latest and greatest stories