"And we are delighted to be able to report to you today that we have seen what we thought was unseeable. We have seen - and taken a picture - of a black hole. Here it is."
On Wednesday, an international scientific team unveiled the first photo of a black hole, a cosmic mystery that has never been visualized before because its gravitational fields are so strong that no matter or light can escape.
The research was conducted by the Event Horizon Telescope project that begun in 2012 to observe the immediate environment of black holes using a global network of Earth-based telescopes.
More than 200 researchers participated to combine the power of eight radio telescopes around the world using Very-Long-Baseline-Interferometry, which creates a virtual telescope around the same size as the Earth itself.
The image shows an intensely bright "ring of fire" surrounding a circular dark hole, which is the massive Messier 87 galaxy.
The team said the black hole, which resides about 54 million light-years from Earth, measures 40 billion kilometers across.
It also weighs nearly 6.5 billion times the sun's mass.
The Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, one of the teams that took part in the observation and image processing of the research, said the latest discovery is remarkable, because in the past, black holes were unobservable as it was believed they absorbed everything, including light.
"The latest discovery is the first evidence of Albert Einstein's general relativity theory. Now that we have seen it with our own eyes, we expect to conduct follow-up research to learn how the black hole functions.
This could signal the beginning of more great discoveries to come."
Details of the latest discovery were published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters on Wednesday.
Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.