German astrophysicist Heino Falcke led one of the most ambitious scientific endeavours in history: producing the first image of a black hole. This required the simultaneous use of eight of Earth’s most powerful telescopes from Mexico to Spain to the South Pole, and €14 million in European funding. The image took two years to render under the weight of data to be processed. Falcke oversaw proceedings from the Pico Veleta telescope in the southern Spanish mountain range of Sierra Nevada in April 2017. There, he and his colleagues spent long nights snacking on “an enormous leg of jamón serrano,” he recalls. In the nearby city of Granada, processions for Easter were underway.