SPANISH astronomers have helped create the first ever image of a black hole, which is described by scientists as ‘a monster’.
Measuring 40 billion km across, the cosmic phenomenon was pictured by scientists manning a telescope in Andalucia, as well as seven other sites.
The black hole is three million times the size of the Earth and is 500 million trillion km away.
The image of the black hole does not show the hole itself, but the gases surrounding it.
Findings of the discovery were published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The 30-metre telescope of Pico Veleta at the Sierra Nevada mountain in Granada was engaged for five full days in the work, along with other telescopes across the world.
The project cost €52 million and was funded by The National Science Foundation and European Research Council, among others.
The network of telescopes, called the Event Horizon Telescope Array, involved over 200 scientists and was lead by Professor Heino Falcke, of Radboud University in the Netherlands.
The black hole, found in galaxy M87, is ‘larger than the size of our entire Solar System’, according to Falcke.
He added: “It has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the Sun and it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exists.
“It is an absolute monster, the heavyweight champion of black holes in the Universe.”
According to NASA, ‘a great amount of matter packed into a very small area’, from which, ‘not even light, can escape’.