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yes and no. Black holes were first unambiguously identified in our galaxy more than 40 years ago, and since then they have been found in vast numbers both in the Milky Way and also at the cores of pretty much every large galaxy that has been studied in detail. the holy grail of observational research in this field is to obtain an ‘image’ of the immediate surroundings of a black hole and to observe the flows of matter around it. all of our theory tells us that nothing can escape from the event horizon of a black hole, not even light. in fact, this is how a black hole is characterised. however, theory also tells us that indirect exchange of energy can make the event horizons glow in a process first proposed by physicist stephen hawking. finding evidence of such glowing black hole horizons will be a very important discovery, but none have been found so far. as our telescopes become more powerful across the full spectrum of energies, from radio waves to gamma rays, we aim to probe ever closer to black holes in the universe. Who knows what surprises we may find.
Poshak Gandhi, associate professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton
imaging a black hole would be a hugescientific breakthrough