Scientists capture first-ever image of black hole showing gas flow and jets

An international group of researchers says it has captured the first-ever image of a black hole showing a high-temperature disk-like flow of gas connected with jets of emerging material.

The image, captured by researchers from Japan, Germany, Taiwan and other countries, is expected to be a key to understanding the mechanism by which black holes are formed.

They used radio telescopes at 16 locations around the globe to observe a galaxy known as Messier 87, some 55-million light years distant.

The wide positioning of the telescopes allowed researchers to capture images showing that the accretion flow of the black hole connects to edge-brightened jets of plasma.

The image showed jets being emitted on the north and south sides of the accretion disk.

Accretion disks and jets are considered to exist together with black holes at the center of galaxies. But when another group of scientists captured the first-ever photograph of the dark edge of a black hole four years ago, it did not show accretion disks or jets.

This time, the scientists managed to capture them by using radio waves of a different frequency and simultaneously observing a wider area using more telescopes.

Evidence that a black hole emits jets despite having gravity so strong that it even absorbs light has been considered a major mystery in astronomy.

Hada Kazuhiro of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, who is a member of the international group, said the latest discovery will add a new page to the history of the study of black holes.

He also said he would like to continue efforts to learn how jets are produced from black holes.