5-speed listening (Black Holes - Level 5)

Astronomers release first ever photo of black hole






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Astronomers have taken the first ever image of a black hole. It is in a distant galaxy called M87, 500 million trillion km from Earth. That number is a five followed by twenty zeroes. Scientists say the black hole has a diameter of 40 billion km and is three million times larger than Earth. The lead astronomer said: "What we see is larger than the size of our entire Solar System. It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun....It is an absolute monster - the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe." He added that it was one of the heaviest black holes in space.

The image was captured by a network of eight telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). No single telescope is powerful enough to record the image. The EHT telescopes are located on volcanoes in Hawaii and Mexico, mountains in the USA and Spain, a desert in Chile, and in Antarctica. A team of 200 scientists used the telescopes to scan the M87 galaxy over 10 days. The data was stored on hundreds of hard drives and processed to produce the image. It is now a landmark in space exploration. A professor called it "an extraordinary scientific feat".

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