Outside of this blue and green planet we call home, countless stars and planets surround us. The Earth is part of a spiral galaxy called the Milky Way, and at its very center is most likely a supermassive black hole. The black hole around which our entire world revolves is called Sagittarius A *, or Sgr A * for short, and is astonishingly huge – about 4.6 million times more massive than our Sun, according to ViewSpace.org. For some additional comparison, our sun is big enough to 1.3 million planet Earth could stand inside it (via Cool Cosmos). Let it go for a moment.
Although we live relatively close to a black hole in the center of our galaxy, at a distance of about 26,000 light-years, it was Messier 87 (M87) that became the first black hole ever shown. According to NASA, the galaxy M87 is about 54 million light-years from Earth and could be up to 6 billion times more massive than the Sun. Despite the unimaginable size of the galaxy (and thus the black holes inside it), you might think it would be easier to photograph something 26,000 light-years away than something 54 million light-years away. However, in the case of our own Milky Way galaxy, the fact that we live in it is actually to our detriment. We are surrounded by cosmic gas and dust, and there is even more of both between us and the center of the Milky Way. But who wouldn’t want to see a black hole in our immediate neighborhood?