With high-profile sponsors including Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan and Sergey Brin, the annual Breakthrough Prize attempts to bring the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to the world of science and academics.
Photographers taking pictures of the first image of a black hole projected on a screen during a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, on April 10. The $3 million prize will be shared equally among the 347 co-authors. The almighty gravitational pull that results prevents anything - including light - from escaping.
The supermassive black hole that the team captured exists at the center of the M87 galaxy and has a mass of more than six billion solar masses. It's this distance and lack of light that made it such a challenge to capture.
Directed by Shep Doelman at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, the team spent over a decade simulating an Earth-sized computational Telescope that combined the signals received by eight radio telescopes working in pairs around the world with their sights trained on the Messier 87, galaxy, 55 million light-years away.
If that wasn't enough, the team, called Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration (EHT), will now be pocketing $3 million dollars.
"By synchronizing each telescope using a network of atomic clocks, the team created a virtual telescope as large as the Earth, with a resolving power never before achieved from the surface of our planet", the foundation said on its website.
The event horizon of a Black Hole is the point at which gravitational effects are strong that light can not escape its pull.
The winners will be awarded at a ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, which will be televised by National Geographic.