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M87: First supermassive black hole to be imaged!

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Well, I don't know if it was the first or the second (since Sgr A* has also been studied). But the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration has reported results here:


Event Horizon Telescope


Very important discovery, in part because data from multiple telescopes designed by different collaborations was successfully combined.

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And the person who was a key scientist in all this is a 29-year-old woman named Katie Bouman. Here's from the NY Post story:


While she was a graduate student at MIT, Bouman led the development of the algorithm that helped capture the first-of-a-kind image, working with a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the MIT Haystack Observatory. She also led testing over the last few years to verify the image.
She’s now an assistant professor of computing and mathematical sciences at the California Institute of Technology.


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Although it is a cool picture in that the light from background galactic light enabled this photo, it has little detail other than its unexpected somewhat oblong shape.  Many expected a long-time exposure to show the orbital motion of materials surrounding the galactic central galactic black hole of galaxy M87. Instead its surroundings appear to be atmospheric with no observable motion. Galactic black holes where their spin motion is measurable are known to have relatively fast spin motion to them. Even though not observable the black hole's surroundings also probably have relatively fast orbital motion to it.

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