The M87 Black Hole Image Showed the Best Way to Measure Black Hole Masses

The measure of a black hole is what it does with its stars. That’s one lesson astronomers are taking from the first-ever picture of a black hole, released on April 10 by an international telescope team. That image confirmed that the mass of the supermassive black hole in the center of galaxy M87 is close to what astronomers expected from how nearby stars orbit — solving a long-standing debate over how best to measure a black hole’s mass.

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