First Visible Image of a Black Hole Proves Scientific Theory

By Keana Saberi, Reporter

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Researchers have at last captured the first visible image of a black hole, officially confirming Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and the existence of such gravitational forces. This theory, which was published over 100 years ago, was often doubted, even by Einstein himself. This substantial scientific breakthrough brings new evidence to his theory, confirming how accurate Einstein’s propositions about the nature of black holes were.

In the most basic terms, black holes are classified as masses of space-time, a term overlapping the three-dimensions of time and space. These black holes are said to retain extreme amounts of gravity and no light particles. Space-time can form into a black hole once its density becomes compact enough. This particular black hole captured is from 55 million light years away, tucked away in a distant galaxy.

One postdoctoral MIT student greatly aided in the capture of this revolutionary photo. Katie Bouman, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, formulated one of the data algorithms that ultimately led to the orange-hued photo surfacing. A large collection of telescopes analyzed data from a remote black hole, which was then pieced together by several algorithms including the one Bouman created. This discovery has given truth to what was once speculation.

Though Bouman was part of a substantial research team, her contribution was huge. With her algorithm, she and many others were able to string together several images of the black hole through coding the remnants of radio signals to reach one conclusive image.

This scientific finding is just a fragment of the knowledge of our universe, but with research being done every day, we are one step closer to understanding the mysteries beyond.