The first image of a black hole – does it look familiar to you?

Picture credit: Black Hole in Galaxy Messier 87, Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.
Picture credit: Black Hole in Galaxy Messier 87, Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.

The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration has managed to take the first picture of a black hole in human history. Not only is this a remarkable scientific feat it is also proof that collaboration will get you further than doing things on your own – a fellowship of scientists, so to speak. Now, the New York Times posted a description familiar to readers of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Astronomers Capture First Image of a Black Hole

Or rather as the New York Times would have it:

The image, of a lopsided ring of light surrounding a dark circle deep in the heart of the galaxy known as Messier 87, some 55 million light-years away from here, resembled the Eye of Sauron, a reminder yet again of the power and malevolence of nature. It is a smoke ring framing a one-way portal to eternity. [Source.]

Now, I am not going to debate the looks of this “eye”:

The Eye was rimmed with fire, but was itself glazed, yellow as a cat’s, watchful and intent, and the black slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothing. [Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Bk. II, Chp. 7: The Mirror of Galadriel]

However, it is quite pleasant to see that people immediately jump at the connection.

Picture credit: Black Hole in Galaxy Messier 87, Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration

Picture credit: Black Hole in Galaxy Messier 87, Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration et al.

TheTolkienist

A Tolkien fan for twenty-five years (and more to come...) Founding chairman of the German Tolkien Society, Co-Founder of Ring*Con, Co-Founder of the ITF, host, presenter and fantasy expert