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The first-ever photo of a black hole. Photo: EHT Collaboration

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration hopes to produce the first-ever moving image of a black hole by the end of the 2020s.

Why it matters: Still images of black holes can give scientists a lot of information about the mysterious and fundamental objects. But videos can help them drill into the details of how black holes consume matter and affect the galaxies they find themselves within, EHT project director Shep Doeleman said.

  • Black hole videos could help astrophysicists push the bounds of physics as we know it, potentially finding new tests for general relativity.

Background: The EHT released its first image of a black hole in April. That image — which reveals the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy M87, about 54 million light-years away — was the result of more than 10 years of planning and work.

  • The EHT works by using a group of radio observatories that coordinate their observations over the course of a night, taking meticulous care to look at the same part of the sky.

What’s next: The EHT is now working on adding 2 more telescopes to its collaboration of radio observatories by next year, and the scientists behind the project plan to find a way to image Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of our galaxy.

  • Doeleman said that the team is also hoping to image the magnetic fields around black holes to learn more about their structures and basic natures.
  • "That is going to be a whole new ball game, as they say. That's going to allow us to really study how black holes eat and how they digest all the matter that's funneling into them," Doeleman told Axios in an interview.

The EHT collaboration won a $3 million Breakthrough Prize last week for its work to image a black hole for the first time.

Go deeper

Reddit traders look to pummel Wall Street's old guard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reddit traders are taking on Wall Street pros at their own game with this basic mantra: Stocks will always go up.

Why it matters: Their trades — egged on in Reddit threads — have played a role in historic market activity in recent days.

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Pay TV's bleak post-pandemic outlook

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the Pay-TV industry, and with the near-term future of live sports in question, there are no signs of it getting better in 2021.

Why it matters: The fraught Pay-TV landscape is forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.