"Black Hole Messier 87" by Event Horizon Telescope / CC BY 3.0

That image of a black hole you saw everywhere today? Thank this grad student for making it possible

Apr 11, 2019

By Michelle Lou and Saeed Ahmed

Imagine trying to take a photo of an orange that’s on the moon with your smartphone. It seems impossible.

That’s what it was like for scientists trying to capture an image of a black hole in space. Despite the tall order, an international team of more than 200 researchers unveiled the first-ever image of a black hole on Wednesday.

The effort wouldn’t have been possible without Katie Bouman, who developed a crucial algorithm that helped devise imaging methods.

Three years ago, Bouman led the creation of an algorithm that eventually helped capture this first-of-its-kind image: a supermassive black hole and its shadow at the center of a galaxy known as M87. She was then a graduate student in computer science and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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