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Visible are the crescent-shaped emission ring and central shadow, which are gravitationally magnified views of the black hole's photon ring and the photon capture zone of its event horizon.
The crescent shape arises from the black hole's rotation and relativistic beaming; the shadow is about 2.6 times the diameter of the event horizon.
Michell correctly noted that such supermassive but non-radiating bodies might be detectable through their gravitational effects on nearby visible bodies.
Scholars of the time were initially excited by the proposal that giant but invisible stars might be hiding in plain view, but enthusiasm dampened when the wavelike nature of light became apparent in the early nineteenth century.
Black holes of stellar mass are expected to form when very massive stars collapse at the end of their life cycle.
After a black hole has formed, it can continue to grow by absorbing mass from its surroundings.
On 10 April 2019, the first ever direct image of a black hole and its vicinity was published, following observations made by the Event Horizon Telescope in 2017 of the supermassive black hole in Messier 87's galactic centre.
This temperature is on the order of billionths of a kelvin for black holes of stellar mass, making it essentially impossible to observe.
The idea of a body so massive that even light could not escape was briefly proposed by astronomical pioneer and English clergyman John Michell in a letter published in November 1784.
Michell's simplistic calculations assumed that such a body might have the same density as the Sun, and concluded that such a body would form when a star's diameter exceeds the Sun's by a factor of 500, and the surface escape velocity exceeds the usual speed of light.
In this way, astronomers have identified numerous stellar black hole candidates in binary systems, and established that the radio source known as Sagittarius A*, at the core of the Milky Way galaxy, contains a supermassive black hole of about 4.3 million solar masses.
On 11 February 2016, the LIGO collaboration announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves, which also represented the first observation of a black hole merger.