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Vox Sentences: To infinity and beyond

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For the first time in history, a black hole is captured in a picture; a young protester in Sudan rises as a symbol of female leadership.

The world sees a black hole for the first time

An orange ring of light surrounds a black hole. Event Horizon Telescope
  • Scientists have captured a photo of a black hole, Sagittarius A*, for the first time in history. [Vox / Brian Resnick]
  • No single telescope is powerful enough to take a picture of a black hole. So a coalition of international scientists created the Event Horizon Telescope by setting up a network of eight radio telescopes. The connection of these telescopes was powerful enough to capture a black hole 3 million times the size of Earth. [BBC / Pallab Ghosh]
  • It took scientists almost a decade to get this breakthrough. Not only did they have to build observatories all over the world, but they also went through painstaking efforts to perfectly synchronize the telescopes to achieve the highest resolution possible. [NPR / Bill Chappell]
  • “What is a black hole?” you might ask. A black hole is a region in space where the gravitational pull is so strong that nothing — not even light — can escape it, and it only grows as it consumes more and more stars, planets, and gas. [NYT / JoAnna Klein and Dennis Overbye]
  • Scientists hope this breakthrough will help them achieve more accurate measurements of the black hole’s mass. They estimate the mass is about 6.5 billion suns, which is much larger than they had initially calculated. [National Geographic / Nadia Drake]
  • The picture is also visual proof of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which states that dense and compact regions of space would suck everything in. [CNN / Ashley Strickland]
  • The picture is just the beginning of a number of research opportunities. Scientists want to collect more images of other black holes and develop technology to take more detailed pictures as well. [Wired / Sophia Chen]

An instantly indelible image of protests in Sudan

  • An image of a Sudanese woman addressing protesters in Khartoum on Monday has gone viral. The woman has become a symbol of the uprising against the country’s ruler President Omar al-Bashir and of female leadership in the country. [Euronews / Sandrine Amiel]
  • The woman is 22-year-old architecture student Alaa Salah. She stood on a car’s roof during the third day of a mass sit-in to protest Bashir. A large crowd gathered around her listening to her chants, including a poem: “The bullet doesn’t kill. What kills is the silence of people.” [Guardian / Zeinab Mohammed Salih]
  • Protests in Sudan began in December after the Sudanese government announced a cut to bread and fuel subsidies. People began demonstrating in the streets, asking for better living conditions. Eventually, protests became larger and people began demanding the removal of Bashir and his government. [Gulf News / Sara Al Shurafa]
  • Part of the symbolism was Salah’s outfit: a white thobe with round earrings. The white thobe was worn by previous generations, and the round earrings are a traditional symbol of femininity. People are already calling Salah Sudan’s “Statue of Liberty.” [NYT / Vanessa Friedman]
  • Women have been active in these protests and the Sudanese people are now referring to female protesters as “Kandaka,” a title given to Nubian queens in ancient Sudan. They gifted “a legacy of empowered women who fight hard for their country and their rights,” Hind Makki, a Sudanese American anti-racism educator in Chicago, told CNN. [CNN / Gianluca Mezzofiore]


  • A woman in Taiwan went to the doctor complaining of an eye infection. Turns out there were four bees living in her eye and feeding on her tears. [Washington Post / Timothy Bella]
  • A new study has shown that melting glaciers have caused 25 to 30 percent of sea level rise. The increase has happened faster than scientists expected. [EcoWatch / Olivia Rosane]
  • Did Game of Thrones’ creators hide clues to the show’s ending in a Spotify playlist? Listen and interpret for yourself. [Vice / Taylor Hosking]
  • A toddler accidentally locked his father’s iPad for 48 years. If you ever end up in that situation, there is a simple solution: put your iPhone/iPad on recovery mode and reset it! [CNBC / Todd Haselton]
  • Japan losing an F-35 stealth jet in the Pacific could be bad news for the US. If China or Russia finds it first, it could seriously undermine the future of US airpower. [Business Insider / Alex Lockie]


“I’m very glad that my photo let people around the world know about the revolution in Sudan. … Since the beginning of the uprising I have been going out every day and participating in the demonstrations because my parents raised me to love our home.” [Alaa Salah, the 22-year-old protester in Sudan whose photo went viral recently during demonstrations against President Omar al-Bashir]

Watch this: The first black hole photo

What it took to collect these 54-million-year-old photons from a supermassive black hole. [YouTube / Joss Fong]

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Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated how glaciers affect global sea rise. They have caused 25 to 30 percent of the rise, according to a recent study.