10/05/2012

How Astronomers Measured the Edge of a Black Hole

This image, created using computer models, shows how the extreme gravity of the black hole in M87 distorts the appearance of the jet near the event horizon. Part of the radiation from the jet is bent by gravity into a ring that is known as the 'shadow' of the black hole. Image courtesy of Avery E. Broderick (University of Waterloo & Perimeter
This image, created using computer models, shows how the extreme gravity of the black hole in M87 distorts the appearance of the jet near the event horizon. Part of the radiation from the jet is bent by gravity into a ring that is known as the ‘shadow’ of the black hole. Image courtesy of Avery E. Broderick (University of Waterloo & Perimeter)

For the first time, astronomers peered to the edge of a massive black hole at the heart of a distant galaxy and measured its “point of no return.” Shep Doeleman, assistant director at MIT’s Haystack Observatory, shares some of the black hole’s deepest (and darkest) secrets.

Think Halloween is scary? Astronomer Shep Doeleman tells us about something really spooky: a black hole’s event horizon. Hear more of what he has to say here.

Segment Guests

Shep Doeleman

Shep Doeleman is director of the Event Horizon Telescope Project and an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Meet the Producer

About Denise Chow

Denise Chow is a sci-tech editor at Live Science and a former associate producer for Science Friday.