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News 12 April 2019, at 04:44

Katie Bowman .. A Harvard girl who photographed the black hole

Marime Font

 Katie Bowman, a PhD in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, specialized in a very fine part of building complex and precise algorithms that could create images through a huge data stream of up to 5 million gigabytes, and then completed her specialization at Harvard.

 Bowman found the project in the "Horizon Horizon Telescope" project, and the project's researchers are not trying to capture a single image of the black hole buried in the depths of the M88 galaxy, but it is even deeper and more complicated than that.


Black holes are very small in size, even the most massive would be for us as an orange on the moon. That's why scientists had to make a huge telescope to take a picture like that, but they discovered that the telescope should be larger than a whole continent.

A planet-sized telescope

At that point, a new idea emerged that included the use of a number of radio telescopes distributed in different parts of the planet so that the group of telescopes work together in one huge telescope.

For the purpose of approximation, it is like having eight violins, each lacking three or three different ones, each playing the same melody, when we hear the melody of one machine we will not distinguish, but when we listen to the eight instruments together, they complement each other.

That's what the telescope of the event horizon does. There are eight observatories where each pair collects a lot of data that is part of the image, but those data can be grouped together to make a single image of the black hole, but that is not so easy.

Because the amount of data from the eight telescopes is too large, and not every picture like that, some images are just chaos in the vacuum, some are not even close to reality, others close to the black hole.

Genius algorithm

Here Bauman intervenes to make her own algorithm that distinguishes between images in a conjugal way, meaning that she compares the images taken to very small parts of the big picture.

The algorithm then merges all two images together to make a new image, then distinguishes the possible images, selects the best ones, then blends them together, and the merge continues to get a small, clear piece of the image.

The algorithm then combines these small images together to make a bigger picture, then another larger one. Over time, working on the horizon horizon telescope, the image of the black hole gradually formed to finally reach one whole true picture.

Bowman comes from a world that has nothing to do with black holes, so that in order to participate in the project she was forced to take additional courses in astrophysics, but what we are sure of is that the interaction of different sciences, complex computer science and astrophysics is always capable of creating miracles, Is what the whole world talked about yesterday, the first picture in history of a black hole.

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