National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Radio Interferometer Measure the Edge of a Black Hole

| Science

International research team including Mareki HONMA and Tomoaki OYAMA (NAOJ) has for the first time succeeded the measurement of the edge of a jet launched by the supermassive black hole harbored in M87, a galaxy around 50 million light-year away from our Galaxy. The measured size of the jet launching point is 5.5 times larger than the expected radius of the black hole. This suggests that the M87 jet is powered by an accretion disk around a spinning black hole.

Thanks to the super-high resolving power of a radio interferometer, a observational method to create a virtual large radio telescope by linking several antennas, the researchers has obtained a close view of the black hole. The results suggest that we will be able to directly “see” a black hole in near future.