The world’s first photo of a black hole, revealed this past April, was the result of years of collaboration between 347 astronomers from around the world. Today, those astronomers get to figure out how to split $3,000,000 in prize money for their hard work.
In case you missed the news in April, an international consortium of over 300 astronomers were able to achieve something previously believed to be impossible: they captured a photograph of a black hole using a planet-scale array of eight ground-based telescopes. And now, they’re being awarded with the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, sometimes called the “Oscar of science,” and $3 million in prize money to split between them.
You can learn more about how this photograph was taken, and why it’s a breakthrough worthy of a $3 million prize, in the video below:
The image, however, is only the beginning of a new era in black hole imaging. Shep Doeleman, the project’s director, tells AFP that they’re already working on the next step: video.
“What I predict is that by the end of the next decade we will be making high quality real-time movies of black holes that reveal not just how they look, but how they act on the cosmic stage,” said Doeleman in an interview. “It could be that maybe we will make the first crude movie [by 2020].”