Famous shadow of black hole provides novel test for new theories of gravity

Outwitting Albert Einstein just got even tougher. More than 100 years ago, the famous physicist published his explanation of gravity, known as general relativity (GR), which successfully explains everything from the orbits of planets to the bending of starlight. Still, some physicists have been trying to invent theories that can solve puzzles GR cannot—for example, by explaining away the need for invisible dark matter, whose gravity appears to bind the galaxies. But the first direct image of a black hole, revealed last year, has now provided a tough new test for theories of gravity. Fail it and your theory is dead. “It’s a new hoop to jump through and a fairly narrow one,” says Feryal Özel, an astrophysicist at the University of Arizona who helped devise the new test.



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