A grad student made the viral black hole photo possible

The MIT Computer Scientist Whose Algorithm Led To The First Real Image Of A Black Hole

Area scientists celebrate first picture of a black hole

In 2016 Katie Bouman delivered a TedX talk called "How to take a picture of a black hole", in which she explained that "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".

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

"We've been busting at the seams about what we've seen, but we had to keep our mouths shut", said Bouman, 29, a doctoral graduate of MIT who continued her studies at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

This is the MIT computer scientist whose algorithm led to the first real image of a black hole. "Her algorithm was frequently better than its predecessors at reconstructing the original image from the measurements and tended to handle noise better", according to a press release from 2016 from MIT, where she developed the algorithm.

The MIT Grad, Katie, was still in school when she helped develop a computer program that created the image of the black hole.

Black holes are areas so massive they warp space and time so much that even light can not escape.

Linked by a bunch of super-accurate atomic clocks, researchers manning each of the EHT's eight (black hole-observing) telescopes freeze light by collecting thousands of terabytes of data of space images.

It was at this processing center that Bauman and her team's work really came into action.

She told CNN: "No one of us could've done it alone". Among other things, the announcement marked the moment when people like Bouman could finally share their secret work with the world.

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"Even though we had predicted that if you had a black hole that you would see this ring of light, we didn't know we were going to get that ring of light", she told the publication.

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.

The black hole in the constellation Virgo is seen as a dark shadow inside that circle, an enormous opening that is the size of our solar system and about 6 billion times the mass of the sun.

It's a historic day for female scientists across the globe as the first picture of black hole was generated by a young lady named Katie Bouman.

Telescopes from researchers across the world had gathered data from the vicinity of the black hole, but a sophisticated algorithm was needed to create a single, accurate photo from the massive amount of data.

First came the breathtaking image, the first one to ever show a black hole, in a galaxy about 55 million light-years from Earth.

Does a black hole seem like the internet's usual meme fodder?

The fact that black holes do not allow light to escape makes viewing them hard.

"It required the awesome 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", she said. "What I did was brought the culture of testing ourselves", she says.

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