Why the world is talking about Katie Bouman

First black hole image How to watch the 'groundbreaking' announcement

Why the world is talking about Katie Bouman

But lots did come out of Wednesday's first image of the shadowy edge of a supermassive black hole.

BNOW: The black hole actually turns out to look like scientists predicted. The image revealed Wednesday showed the edges of the black hole - called the "event horizon" - for the first time.

During a 2016 TED Talk on how she and her colleagues were working toward developing the first image of a black hole, Bouman said the success of the project was due to how it was a "melting pot" of multidisciplinary expertise. But a prediction made by Albert Einstein in his theory of general relativity stated that under certain circumstances, an outline of a black hole and its light-swallowing event horizon could be seen, according to representatives of the Haystack Observatory at MIT, which houses one of the EHT telescopes. And it is one of the heaviest black holes that we think exist. It's a comprehensive explanation of gravity that the former patent clerk thought of in 1915 before computers and with much weaker telescopes.

The reveal of the image is a huge milestone for the study of black holes. It was revealed today after years of global collaboration between over 200 worldwide astronomers. "The Einstein equations are handsome".

We are all set to find out whether astronomers have been able to record an image of a black hole.

"I was part of the observing team at the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, on April 2017 when these observations were carried out". This black hole now sits about 55 million light-years away in galaxy M87. In the image - which appears amid the Google Doodle - the M87 black hole's shadow is framed against a surrounding cloud of superheated dust and gas. This boundary is known as the event horizon.

"It's circular, but on one side the light is brighter", Dempsey said.

While only six observatories are now signed up to the project, more are expected to join in months to come, according to MIT. "This is the equivalent of being able to read the date on a quarter in Los Angeles, standing here in Washington D.C.", said Shep Doeleman, a Harvard University senior research fellow and director of the Event Horizon Telescope project. They obtained the black hole image by networking together radio telescopes at six locations across the globe, effectively creating a "virtual telescope" with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution. They wore oxygen tanks and ascended three-mile-high mountains to get away from the impedance of Earth's air.

The data from eight of those telescopes were collected on hundreds of hard drives and flown in to a central processing center.

But how do you take a picture of something that doesn't radiate light? The scientists had only 10 days to look and got four flawless weather days, three of them at the start. We have to come up with methods that take this really sparse, really noisy data, and try to find the image that might have caused those measurements.

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