Notre Dame de Paris 1163-

Authorities responded to a massive fire at Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday that spread rapidly through the historic monument, toppling its spire and appearing to spread inside one of its two towers.

While authorities feared in the fire’s early hours that the entire historic monument could be destroyed, city officials confirmed around 11 p.m. local time that the main structure was “saved and preserved.”

By early Tuesday morning, Paris firefighters said in a tweet that it took nearly 400 firefighters more than nine hours to extinguish the blaze. Two police officers and a firefighter were slightly injured.

The gravity of the fire is still to be determined, but firefighters said the blaze began in the cathedral’s attic. About two-thirds of the building’s roof was destroyed.

The fire is “potentially linked” to renovation work in the building, firefighters told Agence France-Presse.

Instead of showing pictures of the devastated Notre Dame, I thought I’d share some of the pictures from my visit to the cathedral during my trip to Paris in August 2011:

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Approximately 13 million people visit the monument every year.

The First Pic of a Black Hole

Scientists from a global collaboration of telescopes announced Wednesday that they have captured the first-ever photo of a black hole.

The collaboration, called the Event Horizon Telescope, is a global network of eight telescopes that has been working for two years to capture the first image of a black hole, by combining data from the eight telescopes and “creating a virtual Earth-sized telescope.”

“We have seen what we thought was unseeable,” Shep Doeleman, the director of the EHT, said during a news conference Wednesday.

In 2017, the group embarked on a week long observation spanning telescopes in four continents, capturing data from two black holes: one in Sagittarius A*, located at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and the other in the Messier 87 galaxy, in the constellation Virgo.

MIT’s Katie Bouman with the hard drives used to store the black hole image data. 

Hot New Pic From Juno

NASA’s Juno spacecraft, currently orbiting Jupiter, took a dramatic image of the gas giant earlier this month.

The color-enhanced image comes from Kevin M. Gill, a NASA software engineer who moonlights as one of the Juno’s amateur image processors, shows a large circular storm trailed by clouds swirling in a jet stream in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere.

An image of Jupiter captured by the Juno spacecraft on Feb. 12. NASA software engineer Kevin M. Gill enhanced the colors

Juno has been in a highly elliptical orbit around Jupiter since 2016. The spacecraft captured the image on Feb 12, during its 18th close pass of the planet. Juno was just 8,000 miles above Jupiter’s cloud tops at the time.

First launched in 2011, Juno took five years traveling to Jupiter from Earth. The mission seeks to map Jupiter’s interior and determine how much water is inside the planet, among other goals. Scientists hope that by studying Jupiter, they will have a better understanding of how the planets formed.

NASA makes raw images from Juno available to the public online. The agency encourages amateur astrophotographers to download and enhance the images before uploading them back to Juno’s website. Dozens of space enthusiasts have participated, some by simply cropping the images and others by performing advanced color reconstruction or highlighting a particular atmospheric feature of the planet.

NASA plans to end Juno’s mission in July 2021, at which point the spacecraft will self-destruct in the most metal way by hurling itself into Jupiter.