The Algorithm That Made the Black Hole Picture

53.5 million light-years away, there’s a gigantic galaxy called M87 with something interesting going on inside it. Between Einstein’s theory of relativity and the motion of a group of stars in the galaxy (the motion is characteristic of there being a huge gravitational mass present), scientists have believed for years that there is a supermassive black hole at the center of that galaxy. However, black holes are really hard to see directly because they aren’t a light source like a star or a supernova. They suck up all the light around them, and moreover, even though they’re really massive, they’re small in volume.

That’s why it was so amazing a few weeks ago when scientists announced that they had reconstructed an image of a black hole for the first time ever. The image was the result of many measurements combined together with a clever reconstruction strategy, and giving scientists, engineers, and all the rest of us something to marvel at.

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