Eight Mexican scientists were recognized by the Breakthrough Prize, better known as the ‘Oscars of science’, thanks to the first image captured of a black hole in the Messier 87 galaxy.

This first picture of a black hole came from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), an international project using eight radio telescopes strategically positioned around the world in Antarctica, Chile, Mexico, Hawaii, Arizona, and Spain; a collaboration involving scientists from 60 institutions in 20 countries.

The project won in the Fundamental Physics category.

Doctor David Hughes, Director of the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) Alfonso Serrano; David Gale, National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics, and Electronics (INAOE) researcher; Edgar Castillo Domínguez, Arturo Gómez Ruiz, David Sánchez Argüelles, and Alfredo Montaña Barbano, CONACyT professors; as well as Sandra Bustamante, Tecnológico de Monterrey graduate, Sonora Norte campus, and Milagros Zeballos, both INAOE alumni.

The prize’s official website states that, “by synchronizing each telescope using a network of atomic clocks, the team created a virtual telescope as large as the Earth, with a resolving power never before achieved from the surface of our planet”.

According to the EHT, this is the strongest evidence to date for the existence of supermassive black holes and opens a new window onto the study of black holes.

“The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun,” they explained.

The 3 million dollar prize will be shared equally with 347 scientists co-authoring the six papers published by the EHT, which can be found here.

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