Meet the woman who helped create algorithm for capturing black hole photo

Katie Bouman
PHOTO: Twitter

MANILA, Philippines - Nasa has unveiled the first-ever photo of a black hole, and we have Katie Bouman to thank for that.

Bouman, an imaging scientist, led the creation of an algorithm to help capture one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.

She is a junior member of a team of researchers at the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which is the international radio of telescopes responsible for capturing the historic image.

Her contributions to the imaging team were significant in the groundbreaking feat, Vincent Fish, a research scientist at the MIT Haystack Observatory, said in an interview with CNN.

Bouman was a graduate student in computer science and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when she first led an international team of astronomers creating the world's largest telescope to take the first image of a blackhole.

In a Ted Talk published in 2016, Bouman discussed how black holes still have not been directly observed, citing Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.

"Although, we've never actually taken a picture of one [black hole] before. However, you might be surprised to know that that may soon change," Bouman said.

On her Facebook account, Bouman changed her profile picture with the caption, "Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed."

Katie is set to start teaching as an assistant professor at the California Institute of Technology in the fall.

According to Nasa, a black hole "is an extremely dense object from which no light can escape.

"The new image revealed is the shadow of a supermassive black hole at the centre of Messier 87, an elliptical galaxy 55 million light years from Earth. Nasa added that this black hole is 6.5 million times the mass of the Sun.

ALSO READ: The real deal: astronomers deliver first photo of black hole