In the cosmic scale of things, black holes are a dime a dozen. Despite this, and despite what Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi blockbuster “Interstellar” would have you believe, we humans have never actually seen one with our eyes.
That may be about to change.
A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s artificial intelligence laboratory and the Harvard University revealed Monday that they had developed an algorithm that may allow us to actually “see” black holes.
“We would never be able to see into the center of our galaxy in visible wavelengths because there’s too much stuff in between,” Katie Bouman, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science who led the development of the new algorithm, said in astatement. “A black hole is very, very far away and very compact. It’s equivalent to taking an image of a grapefruit on the moon, but with a radio telescope. To image something this small means that we would need a telescope with a 10,000-kilometer diameter, which is not practical, because the diameter of the Earth is not even 13,000 kilometers.”