The features in these images speak to the immediate surroundings of the black hole, where Einstein’s theory of gravity and relativity reign. We have predictions about how this matter must behave, and the pictures verify that those expectations are correct. That is a significant accomplishment indeed. Black holes are perplexing and strange yet we do have a solid understanding on how they operate.

Simply seeing these photos is fantastic. It’s a tremendous technical problem to link telescopes all over the world, not to mention the difficulty of peering through all of the material in the galactic center to identify the black hole and actually find Sgr A*’s hot gas accretion disk. It’s an understatement to say that this is a major breakthrough.

At a more fundamental level, photographs of black holes demonstrate to us viscerally that they exist. A thing with millions of times the mass of the Sun but completely, totally dark, a void in a ring of tenuous material millions of degrees hot yet flowing around something we cannot see; only its effects on objects around it can be observed.

The Universe is a stunning, breathtaking, and incredible place, and what these pictures imply to me is that we can comprehend it. We may peep right into the most unusual locations of the cosmos if we combine together across nations, across our planet, and allow our interest to lead us.