Astrophysicists coined the term “black hole” in 1967, and there’s a reason the elusive beasts have fascinated us for the decades since. Each has a colossally dense center—the one inside M87 is 6.5 billion times the sun’s mass. That creates immense gravitational pull, sucking up practically everything nearby. Around the center, though, is a visible point of no return called the event horizon, where gas and debris create a glowing silhouette. One problem: In the vastness of the universe, black holes are tiny (their density is akin to squeezing a star larger than the sun into New York City). Making out M87’s signature is similar to spotting a quarter on the moon from your backyard.