【明報專訊】THANKS to a collaboration among scientists from a number of countries, the first ever image of a black hole has been released, signifying a major breakthrough in astronomical observation. Scientific researchers from both sides of the Taiwan Strait have contributed to this study in which the veil of mystery on black holes has been lifted. Shanghai and Taipei are among the seven cities around the world in which the result of the observation was relayed simultaneously. Astronomy is a typical fundamental science. Its contribution to economic productivity and construction is not obvious, but it reflects a country's level of scientific research and soft power. Over the last decade, China has been playing catch-up in fundamental sciences, such as astronomy and physics, and its effort has begun to bear fruit. However, if China is to keep pace with top scientific research institutions in Europe and the US, it will have to devote more human and physical resources and promote transnational collaboration actively in scientific research projects.