【Katie Bouman】How to take a picture of a black hole (Part 5)

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Reconstruction Using Everyday Puzzle Pieces

Another thing we can do is take the same set of puzzle pieces, such as the ones derived from everyday images, and use them to reconstruct many different kinds of source images. So in our simulations, we pretend a black hole looks like astronomical non-black hole objects, as well as everyday images like the elephant in the center of our galaxy.

When the results of our algorithms on the bottom look very similar to the simulation's truth image on top, then we can start to become more confident in our algorithms. And I really want to emphasize here that all of these pictures were created by piecing together little pieces of everyday photographs, like you'd take with your own personal camera.

So an image of a black hole we've never seen before may eventually be created by piecing together pictures we see all the time of people, buildings, trees, cats and dogs. Imaging ideas like this will make it possible for us to take our very first pictures of a black hole, and hopefully, verify those famous theories on which scientists rely on a daily basis. 

International Collaboration

But of course, getting imaging ideas like this working would never have been possible without the amazing team of researchers that I have the privilege to work with. It still amazes me that although I began this project with no background in astrophysics, what we have achieved through this unique collaboration could result in the very first images of a black hole.

But big projects like the 'Event Horizon Telescope' are successful due to all the interdisciplinary expertise different people bring to the table. We're a melting pot of astronomers, physicists, mathematicians and engineers. This is what will make it soon possible to achieve something once thought impossible.

I'd like to encourage all of you to go out and help push the boundaries of science, even if it may at first seem as mysterious to you as a black hole.