ASTRONOMERS are expected to reveal the first close up images of a monster black hole. Eight radio telescopes around the world have been pointed at two of the cosmic behemoths.

One is the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way, a radiation source 26,000 light years away known as Sagittarius A (SgrA). The other is an even bigger black hole 53.7 million light years away in another galaxy, M87.

Black holes are regions where matter has been crushed by gravity to an infinitely small space where the normal laws of physics no longer apply.

While nothing can escape the gravitational vortex of a black hole – not even light – gas and radiation rage in a swirling eddy around the brink of the abyss. It is this point-of-no-return precipice, called the Event Horizon, that astronomers have tried to observe for the first time.

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project was launched in April, 2017. Now after almost two years of acquiring and processing the data, the scientists are ready to release their findings on April 10.

The news, said to be “groundbreaking”, will be announced at six simultaneous press conferences around the world. Images of SgrA are likely to show a lopsided ring of brightness due to gravity bending light closer to the black hole more strongly than light further away.

The project may help scientists struggling to marry together two apparently incompatible pillars of physics, Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.