There was a big breakthrough in the world of science this month when scientists were able to take the first ever picture of a black hole, according to CNN. The photo was released on April 10 and captivated viewers around the world, providing the evidence that these entities exist. The image shows a super-massive black hole and its shadow at the center of a galaxy called M87, CNN reported.
First, a little bit about black holes: a black hole is a region of matter having a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape, according to CNN. Black holes are extremely far away from Earth, making it very difficult to find one, let alone to take a picture of one. Black holes seem to be invisible to the human eye, but the shadow they give off shows that the black holes interact with matter around them, according to CNN.
The Event Horizon Telescope Corporation (EHT) is a global network that helped take the first picture of this black hole. After more than a decade and the work of over 200 researchers, the first photograph was finally taken. It would not have been possible without the help of MIT graduate student Katie Bouman, CNN reported.
Three years ago, Bouman and a team created an algorithm which eventually helped take the picture of the black hole, CNN reported. Using her imaging algorithm along with a few other imaging algorithms, researchers were able to make three scripted code pipelines which helped put the picture together. In order to do this, scientists took the sparse and noisy data that the telescopes spit out to make the image.
The black hole was also given a name: Powehi, a Hawaiian phrase referring to an embellished source of unending creation, CNN reported. Now that a picture of a black hole exists, scientists are hoping that it can provide new information that would be vital to the science world. As of now, there is only one picture of the black hole, but more may come in the future.