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First Picture of Black Hole 2019

Meet Katie Bouman, the 29-Year-Old Who Made It Possible to See a Black Hole

ICYMI: On April 10, the first official image of a black hole was released for all of us to see. According to the National Science Foundation, the photo — which shows a black hole in the center of the Messier 87 galaxy sitting 55 million light years away — is a result of a massive effort coordinated by researchers all around the world and their cultivation of "five petabytes of data." It's an incredible feat, as many have already pointed out, but none of it would have happened without Katie Bouman, a 29-year-old MIT graduate who created an algorithm to make obtaining a photo of the massive void possible.

According to a TEDx Talk that the former computer science student gave back in 2016, trying to photograph a black hole is similar to trying to take a picture of an orange on the surface of the moon — it's difficult and would require a telescope the size of the Earth itself. Since that isn't possible, Bouman sought out an alternative method that involved developing a network of telescopes scattered around the globe. Watch the video above to get a look at how Bouman led the charge on testing out ways to make it possible to see something "that, by definition, is impossible to see."

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