Black hole image gives Twitter a field day

Mindy Sparks
April 12, 2019

A snap of you and your nearest and dearest?

Scientists observing the stars determined that they were rotating around a supermassive black hole, and it is that black hole the whole world is now getting a glimpse of, in large thanks to Bouman's contributions.

Bouman delivered a TED talk in 2016 called "How to take a picture of a black hole", where she explained "getting this first picture will come down to an global team of scientists, an Earth-sized telescope and an algorithm that puts together the final picture".

According to reports, she helped develop a computer program which helped in creating the image of the black hole.

Her focus was on making sure the methods they used would show an image of precisely what was at the center of the M87 Galaxy, not just what the team hoped would be there.

Its creation made an endeavour that was previously thought impossible, a reality. And the quietly excited and overwhelmed look on Katie's face says it all.

"It has been truly an honor, and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with you all", she wrote. Beats your pouting selfie, doesn't it?

"Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed", the EHT postdoctoral fellow wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday.

Three years ago, Katie Bouman was an electrical engineering and computer science graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


That historic first photo of a black hole was released to the public on Wednesday after years of work on an worldwide project called Event Horizon Telescope.

"Why not name it the Bouman Black Hole, and get scifi writers slip a reference into their characters' lines?" one Twitter user suggested.

New York Democratic Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: "Take your rightful seat in history, Dr. Bouman!"

In the image released Wednesday, the black hole is outlined by an orange ring that is actually emission from hot gas swirling near its event horizon.

"No one algorithm or person made this image, it required the fantastic talent of a team of scientists from around the globe and years of hard work to develop the instrument, data processing, imaging methods, and analysis techniques that were necessary to pull off this seemingly impossible feat", said Bouman. Her groundbreaking algorithm stitched together "data collected from radio telescopes scattered around the globe", reported MIT News. Bouman worked with three other colleagues to developed the algorithm that made it possible for the image to come together. Put another way, a series of algorithms converted telescopic data into the photo.

No single telescope is powerful enough to capture the black hole, so a network of eight was set up to so do using a technique called interferometry.

The Event Horizon Telescope is formed from data from telescopes located around the world in Hawaii, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Arizona, and the Antarctic.

It has been nearly a century since Albert Einstein first made the historic prediction of the existence of black holes in his theory of gravity.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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