First image of black hole captured

Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A network of eight telescopes around the world has captured the first image of a black hole, some 500 million trillion km from the earth, located in a distant galaxy which scientists say measures about 3 million times the size of our planet.

Professor Heino Falcke of Radboud University in the Netherlands who proposed the experiment said the black hole was found in a galaxy called M87, about more than 55 million light years away from the earth.

The picture captured by Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a network of eight linked telescopes, shows an intense “ring of fire” surrounding a perfectly circular dark hole with a bright halo caused by superheated gas falling into the hole, scientists explained.

Dr. Katie Bowman, a 29-year-old computer scientist, led the development of an algorithm program that created the first image of the black hole.

Bowman, who began the algorithm three years ago as a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT), says in her Facebook post “Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed.”

She was assisted by a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Harvard-
Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the MIT Haystack Observatory for the project which opens a new era for astrophysics.