Black holes are staples of science fiction films such as Interstellar – but we have never actually seen one.
But that could be about to change, thanks to a groundbreaking project using telescopes around the world.
Next week, scientists from the The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project and the National Science Foundation (NSF) will unveil results – and possibly an image – from the telescope in a press conference on April 10.
The Event Horizon Telescope aims to turn our planet into a radio dish – using computer power to ‘fill in the gaps’ as huge radio dishes all over the planet ‘tune in’ to the supermassive black hole.
The scientists hope that the radio telescopes will capture the event horizon – the point beyond which nothing can escape from the black hole, not even light.
It will look like a ring of bright light around a dark blob, some have predicted.
The black hole the Event Horizon Telescope is aiming at is 26,000 light years from Earth, so it’s normally the size of a pinprick in the night sky.
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Gopal Narayanan at the University of Massachusetts said in 2017, ‘These are the observations that will help us to sort through all the wild theories about black holes. And there are many wild theories.
‘With data from this project, we will understand things about black holes that we have never understood before.