What is a black hole?
Press conferences around the globe are being organised, seemingly to announce a photograph that could break new ground in our understanding in space.
The imminent announcement relates to the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), the European Southern Observatory (ESO) announced, which has made its "first result".
But aren't black holes, well, black, and thus invisible, so none of our telescopes can "see" them? While scientist knows a bit about black holes, and have known one exists at the center of our galaxy since the '70s, there are no pictures of black holes to study.
While it would be impossible to see the black hole itself due to the fact that light simply can not escape their gravitational pull and reach observers on Earth, scientists focused their efforts on procuring an image of its event horizon. For the last 13 years, the Event Horizon Telescope has been trying to capture two black holes: Sagittarius A* which lies the center of the Milky Way, and the black hole at the center of Messier 87.
So while we can understand black holes by proxy, because of the way they affect the space that surrounds them, they cannot be directly seen. BLACK HOLE HUNTERS will bring viewers into the laboratories, behind the computer screens and beside the telescopes of what may prove to be one of the great astrophysical achievements in the history of mankind.
The main press conference will take place on April 10, in Brussels, at 3.00pm CET. The speakers at these various events include some heavy hitters, such as Carlos Moedas, the European commissioner for research, science and innovation; James Liao, president of the Academia Sinica; European Southern Observatory Director General Xavier Barcons; and Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array Director Sean Dougherty. Speculation suggests that the image will actually be of the "event horizon" which is the edge of the black hole where light can't escape.
They are events planned in the capitals of Spain, Italy, Sweden and South Africa.