How to Understand the Image of a Black Hole

Publisert 9. april. 2019
We have just seen the first image of a black hole, the supermassive black hole in the galaxy M87 with a mass 6.5 billion times that of our sun. But what is that image really showing us?
This is an awesome paper on the topic by J.P. Luminet:
Image of a spherical black hole with thin accretion disk
Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 75, no. 1-2, May 1979, p. 228-235
Using my every day intuition I wondered: will we see the "shadow" of the black hole even if we're looking edge on at the accretion disk? The answer is yes because the black hole warps space-time, so even if we wouldn't normally be able to see the back of the accretion disk, we can in this case because its light is bent up and over the black hole. Similarly we can see light from the bottom of the back of the accretion disk because it's bent under the bottom of the black hole. Plus there are additional images from light that does a half turn around the black hole leading to the inner rings.
What about the black hole "shadow" itself? Well initially I thought it can't be an image of the event horizon because it's so much bigger (2.6 times bigger). But if you trace back the rays, you find that for every point in the shadow, there is a corresponding ray that traces back to the event horizon. So in fact from our one observing location, we see all sides of the event horizon simultaneously! In fact infinitely many of these images, accounting for the virtually infinite number of times a photon can orbit the black hole before falling in. The edge of the shadow is due to the photon sphere - the radius at which light goes around in closed orbits. If a light ray coming in at an oblique angle just skims the photon sphere and then travels on to our telescopes, that is the closest 'impact parameter' possible, and it occurs at sqrt(27)/2*r_s
Huge thanks to:
Prof. Geraint Lewis
University of Sydney
Like him, I'm hoping (predicting?) we'll see some moving images of black holes tomorrow
Prof. Rana Adhikari
Riccardo Antonelli - for excellent images of black holes, simulations and ray-tracing code, check out:
The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration
Check out their resources and get your local link for the livestream here:
Special thanks to Patreon supporters:
Donal Botkin, Michael Krugman, Ron Neal, Stan Presolski, Terrance Shepherd, Penward Rhyme
Filming by Raquel Nuno
Animation by Maria Raykova


  • OK, just over an hour to go! This is the link to the Washington DC National Science Foundation livestream: Click here for links to other live streams (there are several available in different countries):

    • Not images like a snapshot of your mother. You're looking at virtual reality as per algorithms predicated on assumptions, with these assumptions predicated on some facts and plenty of theoretical bias. Astrophysicists haven't even tested the results against other theories regarding what the image(s) represent due to academic consensus thinking-permitted protocol for funding. You might consider another explanation before you justify to the gullible and uneducated public all the monies, grants, endowments and salaries needed to conduct science as it's conducted today, often without experimental evidence. For scientists bent on truth, not glory, look here to consider another point of view:


    • And you only say that nothing can come out of a black hole because there is no proof that hawking radiation exists?

  • How does a black hole shrink if it keeps sucking?

  • Does a black hole have capacity?

  • mind = blown

  • Finalmente entendi como é um buraco negro... explicação perfeita!

  • Then does that mean we will die

  • 0:28 nice pun

  • Take the amount of enjoyment you got out of it and divide it by 100. Now divide it by 100 again. Now divide it by a 100 a third time. That's how much enjoyment I got out of it. But I enjoyed your explanation of it.

  • I have a feeling someone sent you a sneak preview, Derek ;)

  • This duke from Venezuela is a pretty and smart

  • So you believe you can see your own back of your head! Interesting

  • The splash screen for this video had me thinking it would be about biathalon shooting technique.

  • I love this guys videos, but I don't know what's better; the content or his voice, his voice is so.... Satisfying 😍

  • Wow, i think i almost understood until the space and space time got bent^^

  • When you said light goes in a straight line, space time is bent, it kinda messed with my head lol

  • Exactly as I’ve predicted

  • So well done! I am excited about it as you are! Thanks!

  • If Jon Richardson and Adam Sandler had a kid.

  • there is something I can't understand ... how the light was able to escape from the black hole when we took the photo ... and something else ... the black hole they said that shooted is far away so so much from us ... the light should arrive us after billions and billions of years

  • Wow, this is new. Isaac Clarke lookalike from Dead Space franchise explaining Black Hole to me.

  • First of.. why is it Spherical if it's a HOLE? That doesn't fit the definition. 2nd. You use a made up mathematical pre-drawn image based on no physical empirical sizes and distances No One can verify to mimic the future picture of the black hole (which isn't even a real photo but made up of bits and bytes of radio data that in itself cannot be verified) and 3rd. you believe this reflects Reality? Dude, you are scientifically Bonkers!

  • This black hole is almost 55 millions light years away from Earth. So that means this image is 55 millions light years old?

  • Do we see the same image of the blackhole from every direction?

  • *wow* -great explanation-

  • It's so weird to see the visual layout. It's almost as if the surface of the BH's sphere is displayed on a perpendicular, two dimensional plain, front and rear. I would love to know what happens to the acquired matter. If it isn't destroyed, and BH's aren't an immortal force, what happens to the matter that it took in? What is the ultimate structure of that particular information? Also, WHERE is it? If SpaceTime is distorted, then where is this information going? (i.e. Where is the singularity located as pertaining to SpaceTime location/region of space)

  • I'm sure that he just forgot to mention the fact that it is theorized that the image is of a Black Hole. Must have been oversight...LOL. The fact is that nothing is science fact ...only theory according to Steven Hawkins "The Grand Design." In fact all of his books state that FACT. Some, however are more elegant than others. A elegant theory is testable, predictable and must match observation. I'm just a the unquantified NO-tvsr, but I like to hear everyones ideas and keep an open mind, and never draw conclusions too quickly. There is a branch of scientists that call themselves "Plasma Cosmologists." They say that the new image supports their theory that the source of the jets shooting from this supposed Black Hole, is actually a Super Plasmoid. A Super Plasmoid is a torus (donut) shaped magnetic anomaly with a glowing plasma around the center of the torus. That is what the image shows. A plasmid can be created in a lab and similar jets are created. This match the observation. I thought Black Holes don't let out light...hence the term Black Hole. Anyway "Wal Thornhil" of the "Thunderbolts Project" NO-tvs channel explains it quit simply without having to use infinity in his mathematics. It is very important that scientists tell people that not all scientists agree with that theory. By not mentioning that fact, they always look like they are trying to silence opposition. In science especially we need to hear from as many minds and ideas as possible. Who know what the the real truth of the image, but lets try not to draw conclusions too quickly. Here is a link to a good video. . It probably won't stay posted long.

  • Can you please make a video in which you explain the "ergosphere" of black holes in the same way?! Thank you.

  • Awesome Awesome explanation

  • As Salam Mo Alikum Brother Vertasium May Peace Be Upon You . Saw a dream about BLACK HOLE, Which i am happy to discuss in detail if we get in touch , I really Hope I can find a answer of my Comment because it's in the line after 13,825 It's bothering me a lot since few years back when I was in South China Sea Sailing towards Arabian SEA. I can Understand if you are not able to reply , However I still ask my question and please reply me on my e-mail id if you can. MUSAMARKHOR@GMAIL.COM or What will happen ? If a black hole end-up eating the entire Galaxy ? and all the black hole end-up eating all the Galaxies in the Universe ? and all black hole end up eating each other ? what we will be left with ? ONE SUPER DUPER BLACK HOLE WITH NO TIME AND SPACE ? OR TWO SUPER DUPER BLACK HOLE'S COLLIDED WITH EACH OTHER CAN WE START A NEW BIG BANG BI COLLIDING BOTH ? HOW MUCH MATTER A BLACK HOLE CAN EAT ? ANY LIMIT ?

  • This is great, thanks!

  • Great video! Keep on doing nice content and you'll develop fast! Subscribe to our channel then we'll subscribe to your channel!

  • Just a amazing way to explain in very simplistic way. Excellent work

  • Sir, Is there any possibility of light beam or plasma moves around black hole orbit as like satellites moves around in earth's orbit...???

  • If ii said ii seized grasped and comprehended your "full" video content ii would think how impossibly funny the pun was but alas such is not the claim ii make. Thanks.

  • parfait ! merci !

  • Why is there a photon sphere in the first place if light coming in has to be 2.6(sr) to be just outside of the photon sphere?

  • according to the captions @3:33 the "saying" goes quote-unquote and not quote on quote. I've never realized this and have said quote on quote for my whole life.

  • I kept hearing secretion disc lmao

  • A humongous space-time-candy-floss machine

  • the best explanation about black holes likeness I have seen so far ♥

  • Wow, this is quality!! You can tell it so clearly and good!! Really, I understand everything much better now. I like black holes so much, they are so inspiring. Congrats!

  • Thanks for FINALLY depicting the Black Hole as a 3 dimensional object. I didn't think you would be able to pull it off with that 2 dimensional sphere, but by twisting them around, the explanation makes sense. Too often explanations of Black Holes are only 2 dimensional. Thanks for also reminding us that the light rays will be bent.So my only dumb question is this... if the light rays are bent around the event horizon, how do we accurately establish the location of the Black Hole in space relative to our position. Can we correct for the roller coaster ride the light rays took to get here, so we know the exact origin of the light source? When light travels a vast distance, I picture a pin ball swerving left, then right, as it is attracted by strong gravity pulses in its path.

  • THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT THE CENTER OF THE GALAXY IS SPINNING FASTER. In fact; the current evidence shows that the outer arms are moving as fast as the inner parts due to the rotation of a massive Electro-Magnetic Field...and not "spinning gravity". Without the EM Field...if the center of the galaxy was black hole...nothing would be spinning. And, I all. Gravity NEVER CREATES any centrifugal force. An alleged black-hole would only produce movement that is perpendicular to the center...from every direction that is conceivable. This movement is not 'FLAT"'s spherical going to a single point. This is the alleged singularity...which is not and has not been proven since Einstein "theorized" this in 1916. Uh....Einstein was wrong and has been thoroughly and completely debunked about "gravity being created by space-time curvature" and Relativity. His "math-magics" tensor equations and models stipulated that the we live in "has no mass". This is how the debunking of Einstein began and it has only gotten those that "do real science" prove how Electro-Magnetism works in this Universe; by doing actual lab based experiences using scaled down plasma discharge equipment in actual laboratory settings. The lab work disproves dark matter, dark energy, black holes, white holes, wormholes...and many other "HOLES" in the scientific PROGRAMMING that we all got in SKULLE.

  • Wow! Awesome explanation!!

  • Brilliant lucid explanation

  • Woooow!

  • This is bogus and not the picture of a black hole. It would not create a "ring of light"...because all stars and planets in space are round. Therefore the "event horizon" of any alleged black hole would be ROUND...and not "flat" like a disc. Therefore, you could never see the "hole" at the center of anything....particularly the "edge" of an alleged black hole....because there IS NO EDGE. "If' in shown by the ball he is holding in his hand (and putting on that pedastal)....."if" there is an "event horizon"...then since that black ball is a sphere...light entering into the alleged event horizon would not be coming in at 360 degrees like a "disc"...the light would be coming in at every single angle INTO THE SPHERE. This means that the "event horizon" would look like any other would glow and you would not see any sort of "dark center". The "theory" of black holes comes from the same "so-called" scientist that "photo-shopped" the so-called "background microwave radiation". But...either event horizon ..."if" such exist...would be a 'ball". Just like gravity on earth; it pulls straight towards the center of that BALL....and that BALL IS NOT A DISC AND IT IS NOT FLAT. The photograph is Fake. It shows "light glowing".....but so what? Our sun glows. When you see a "sun spot" is dark inside. The best video debunk of black hole theory is Steven Crothers..."Quackademics" on youtube. At least get another view; before swallowing information that has NO PROOF....but is only based on allegation. The truth of that photograph is that...even if it is real; they do not whether the light is going towards the center of that ring or radiating outwards from the ring. And, any ring formation is usually an indication of a "NORTH-SOUTH" magnetic alignment where "matter" positions itself in the "stable center" of the opposing magnetic fields. This is proven by the fact that the planet (plane) all rotate around the sun approximately between the Sun's polar North and South Magnetic Axis. This "disc shape" comes from Magnetic alignment....not gravitational attraction.


  • Can you explain relativistic beaming a little more?

  • Great video! I want to ask that why couldn't we capture the image of our own galaxy black hole? Please explain!

    • We will soon. The reason we chose m87 is because of it's size.its huge!

  • A picture is worth a thousand words. A model speaks a million words! I also use models when I teach. Very, very well done in this explanation of the 'shadow' which is spoken about in most reports without there being an attempt to understand what is meant.

  • Let me put this black hole none sense to rest; the black hole is y'all evil natures, it's true!!!

  • That was pretty much spot-on what the image looks like. Great explanation!

  • Now imagine a pioneer scientist discovering how to replicate a black hole, and giving it a try.

  • He is making it sound like you can actually see what is shown in the image if you are close enough. No it's not. The image is a computer generated image after god knows how many filters are applied to petabytes of data that no one will ever be able to independently evaluate, by that I mean not using computer programs designed to produce an image like this in the first place. The whole thing is another gravitational wave scam and these frauds are dying for their Osca...I mean Nobel Prize..

  • This is the best explanation i´ve found about the image of black holes. You are the best!

  • So as a black hole absorbs mass, it gets bigger. What happens to all that light and EM radiation that a black hole absorbs though? It doesn't have mass, but has anyone theorized about a threshold beyond which something changes? What happens when it absorbs "too much" or "enough"?

  • Since light is entering and exiting the area on all sides you'd have a light spot....I'd think.

  • 台灣翻譯 4:09 「光也會像白海豚一樣轉彎」實在太好笑了

  • This changes the knowledge of black hole .... how he explained thank you

    • +Hand Solo And you took it personally. Not only that you assumed the out come too. I asked that just to understand where exactly you were coming form with your argument. And to make sure that you had proper information and background knowledge about what you were proposing. Not to attack you or something. Whatever have fun and judge with logic and facts before jumping to conclusions.

    • If that's the first question that came into your mind, I don't see how this conversation can develop in a healthy manner.

    • +Hand Solo can i ask you what is your educational background or what do you study? don't take it personally. just a query

    • Lol no it doesn't. He is just repeating what every astronomer was taught in college that is predicted by theories that are 100 years old. Some of them are well connected enough to ask the government to hand over hundreds of millions to develop some program to materialize what they claim is real and surprise, everyone of them came back with exactly what they predicted! It's data manipulation and conformity at their best and science at it's worst. These people are no different than the idiots who are searching for Noah's ark.

  • Internet Explorer. We definitely need a superhero "above" to defend our Universe.

  • I’ve watched this several times and recommended it to friends. Great explanation!! I really appreciate how you carefully introduce each aspect and then build on it in a logical and understandable way.

  • Mind = Blown! 5/5. Veritasium is the highest quality of content on youtube.

  • As usual Hollywood was ahead of nasa

  • Funny how the new space race came back when flat earth became huge lmao

  • Of course, nowhere „in“ that black hole will exist a singularity. Due to relativistic effects and us being an outside observer, the formation of a singularity will not happen until an infinite amount of time will have passed. All the matter that went „into“ the black hole has yet to pass the event horizon, but since apparently (to us) no time is passing for this matter, it just can’t. It takes quite literally forever for that matter to form a singularity.

  • If we can detect Hawking Radiation. Could we not paint a picture with that?

  • I wish I could have watched this when it came out because he called it exactly

  • This is an image of the plasma torus at the galactic centre with the Birkeland current which extends from it photoshopped out.

  • Helpful thank you

  • ...1.5 shwar...1.21 gigwatts or 65,000,000,000,000,000,000au it's all hogwash lol

  • yawns,, gotta go back to school to even get any idea what he just said.

  • You should have started with SPOILER ALERT!

  • It match well what the photo show

  • im offended

  • Hats off.. Very well explained and indeed image was the way you described before release of image

  • Great explanation, cheers!

  • A+

  • The difference in brightness around the ' hole ' indicates a rotation ? (the axis of rotation being the line dividing the areas of intensity ? Effecting the doppler beaming ?)

  • Paint Shop Joke!!!!!

  • thx for this I used it for some cool stuff

  • Thank you - my brain, is now broken

  • Can you please make it a bit more simplified?

  • Ull r totally wrong,,,I'll explain it to you

  • Wonderfull video. But are you sure the photon has no mass? I recall from high school physics the conclusion of the photon having the 'heavy' mass, in the context of it being bent by the nearby gravity (solar exclipse experiment which confirmed Einstein calculation). In other words, you could also reason why would photon be affected by gravity at all, if it had no mass?🤔😊 Photon is an electromagnetic field. Substance and the field are the two forms of the existance of matter. So, seems logical that the field has a (albeit small) mass, and is thus affected by gravity...(of the situation😋).

    • +Cedric Brouste that's a convinient explanation, but if photon energy is E= h x nu, and E= m c^2, why couldn't photon have a mass too...?

    • Mass of the sun or black hole curves significantly space-time, light goes straight lines in space time, I.e in a significantly curved space, so the trajectory is curved. No need for mass to the photons, and it would break the standard model in ways that would be really tough to reconcile. No observation ever disproved the absence of mass to the photons and EM field.

    • Paint Shop Joke!!!!

  • Thanks for the explanation. My students love your videos... I love your videos. Haha had my chemistry students create their own chemical bonding songs after we watched your atoms and bonding song videos haha Keep up the good fight!


  • So Basically, we are looking "into your deep black hole?!?!?! and it is skewed like we don't understand it?" But it is our own black holes?!?!

  • Inside the black hole the trapped light will make it white!

  • Nice explanation..... 😁

  • ada yg dateng dari kok bisa ?

  • Nice Prediction..Awesome....

  • Nice job.

  • Once you go black you dont go back

  • My friends, wait no further! If you wanna see the black hole, get a mirror, turn around, bend over and spread your büťt cheeks. There at the center, you will find the black hole! And as a bonus, I shall tell you how to obtain the elusive dark matter! Next time you take a dump, look at the bottom of the toilet bowl before you flush. There you will find the dark matter!! Kthxbye!!!

  • Please explain to me how I can look into a black hole and see the back of my head because I cannot wrap my head around how that is possible? I mean, I understand it's not physically possible for me to get there and do that, but how is it theoretically possible?

  • If you enjoyed this .... you will love this video

  • I thought that I will learn something about cgi and photoshop but there is just a bunch of religious crapping

  • PLEASE Make A Video or Two on NEBULA!

  • To be totally honest I want to know what happens once the threshold of the even horizon is crossed. I have a lot of questions. Why are there so many paradoxes involved if the "Black hole" is spherical in nature? Why can we theoretically see the back side of it? So if we are talking about possibly and infinitesimal object with infinite gravity that light photons can not escape aren't we talking about what may describe the Bing Bang event? I would love to know. Maybe it is taking the energy from this space time and regurgitating it out in another reality. which would be another universe. We may be looking at the first part of a big bang in another Universe which could be deemed the Multiverse theory. We have theories about our "Big Bang" but what if our Universe started a long long time ago with Light and energy being sucked up in a black hole in another Universe? I think what worries me more is that we are looking dead on on the earth and what happens when the jets let go in common perceptions of Astrophysics? We have never witnessed it in real time because how can we? We witness the past and it seems plausible and say what does 500 years mean in the timelines we are talking about? We think we know but we just don't. As for the jets I think we are lucky looking at the image. It seems like we are looking at it sort of tilted toward us and explains why the bottom is brighter than the top. Regardless of everything I am still in awe. I am surprised very few people are though. Ahh, Black hole, who cares? The first image of one and no on cares it seems. We are looking at it how it was in time and not how it is in space. But to me it holds great physical awe and great philosophical awe and it is a big deal. It should be a big deal with everyone too. Ask most people and it was just a passing news story.