Have you ever wondered what a black hole looks like? A group of scientists wanted to know, and so they teamed up on the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project — but it took them more than 10 years to get everything working properly. It was complicated because the scientists had to hook up a network of eight radio telescopes all over the world to work as one mega-telescope that was basically the size of the Earth. Then they aimed all the telescopes at a huge black hole in the center of galaxy Messier 87 (M87), which is 55 million light-years away in the Virgo galaxy cluster. The amazing thing is that the scientists took the photo in April 2017 but only got to see the image this month.
Black holes are really hard to see because their very high gravity sucks all the light in. So scientists needed a really big one that wasn’t too far away. The black hole in M87 is 100 billion kilometers wide.This discovery is important to science because the photo finally proves Albert Einstein was right when he came up with the idea of black holes. And by studying the photo, scientists are now more confident about other theories that they have made about how the universe works.
I chose this article because I thought it was amazing we managed to get a picture of a hole that sucks in light and deforms space and time! I heard about the story from my mom. She was telling me how she saw on Twitter that a young woman had written the code. Her name is Dr. Katie Bouman and she is a 29-year-old computer scientist. She started designing an algorithm three years ago, when she was at MIT, that was used to combine all the different images from the telescopes. (The tweet my mom saw is below.)
By Luke 4L