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How to Take a Picture of a Black Hole

The first-ever picture of a black hole was unveiled yesterday, generating a huge amount of interest and excitement across the world. But how exactly was this picture captured? Well, it definitely wasn’t as simple as “pointing and clicking” a giant camera.

One of the researchers who has become a poster child of the black hole photo project is MIT grad student Katie Bouman, who helped to develop the algorithm that turned raw telescope data into the black hole picture. A photo she posted on Facebook of herself watching the groundbreaking photo being reconstructed has gone wildly viral online over the past day:

Back in mid-2017, Bouman gave a TED Talk about her work, explaining how scientists were trying to image a black hole, and predicting that the first-ever photo would arrive in a couple of years.

“We may be seeing our first picture of a black hole in the next couple years,” Bouman stated. “Getting this first picture will come down to an international team of scientists, an Earth-sized telescope, and an algorithm that puts together the final picture.”

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