Astrophysics researchers from the European Southern Observatory have released a virtual reality simulation of a "supermassive" black hole, as scientists revealed the first-ever image of one.

The simulation shows luminous matter disappearing into a black hole like into a vortex.

The extreme conditions cause it to become a glowing plasma, while the light emitted is then deflected and deformed by the powerful gravity of the black hole, the ESO said.

The stunning new photo released by an international network of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) and the National Science Foundation in the US, shows the shadow of the black hole in the center of Messier 87 (M87), an elliptical galaxy 55 million light years from Earth.

The black hole is 6.5 billion times the mass of the Sun.

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