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Templeton grantees contribute to the first-ever image of the black hole at the center of our galaxy

On May 12, 2022, the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration hosted a press conference in Washington, D.C. to unveil the first image of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

This groundbreaking image marks the first, long-awaited piece of visual evidence of a black hole sitting at the center of our own galaxy. The image captures the complex object known as Sagittarius A*, and although we cannot see the black hole itself, the glowing ring of gas surrounding the dark central region is a telltale signature. The new view captures light bent by the powerful gravity of the black hole, which is four million times more massive than our Sun.

This result provides overwhelming evidence that the object at the center of our galaxy is indeed a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such giants, which are thought to reside at the center of most galaxies.

  • Sheperd Doeleman unveils the first-ever image of a black hole in 2019.

The John Templeton Foundation has supported this research by way of a series of three consecutive grants, totaling $15 million, to Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative (BHI), which serves as a key node in the global EHT network.  In 2019, EHT Founding Director Sheperd Doeleman, who also co-directs the BHI, presented the first image of the black hole at the center of galaxy M87.

Learn more about black holes from Professor Avi Loeb of Harvard, one of the leaders of the Black Hole Initiative.

Still Curious?

Read the full press release from the National Science Foundation.

Explore other questions relating to the study of black holes at Harvard University’s Black Hole Initiative.

Learn more about the first-ever image of a black hole captured in 2019.

Read about Templeton-funded research on black holes.