The Black Hole Image Explained

4 min readMay 2, 2020

The Black Hole is a Black Eye!

(Left) Image of the black hole in M87 (Right) Image of the AdS black hole constructed from the response function. (©Hashimoto, K., Kinoshita, S., Murata, K., “Einstein Rings in Holography”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 123, 031602, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.123.031602)

To understand the images above, a different picture should be shown first. It will help in understanding that our eyes can see two different outcomes with the exact same data set.

Rubin’s Vase is the famous example showing us that the human brain can see two distinct outcomes. It was devised by Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin.

Something special is going on.

When we look at the Vase, the Two Faces are its background.

When we look at the Two Faces, the Vase is their background.

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Look at the Black Hole picture once again. Can you envision two distinct outcomes?

The two outcomes belong to the realm of physics. Let’s discuss the prevailing theory first.

Using Einstein’s General Relativity, a horizon is envisioned beyond which matter has collected itself to such a level that it has become invisible. The mass is so tremendous, it collapsed onto itself and anything that comes near it will be captured and collapsed on the same invisible surface.

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Albert Einstein’s dear friend Kurt Gödel showed us something else. He made clear that we cannot take any system to its extreme. No formal system can be taken all the way to its extreme.

Let’s use that information to look at the same picture with different eyes.

Notice that all we see are photons.

The important information about these photons coming our way is that they are not reaching us from the center, but from around the center.

We must conclude that something is preventing photons coming through that center.

With Rubin’s Vase in mind, having a mass that attracts and captures photons is one way of looking at this image. A material essence is found in the middle.

Having a gravitational center (but no mass) that pushes photons off their paths is another way. No material essence is found in the middle.