Apple's Mac spotted in viral image with black hole researcher

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 11
On Wednesday, the world got its first glimpse at a black hole, or more accurately its shadow, in what is being hailed as a monumental scientific achievement that was once thought impossible. And Mac was there.


Source: Katie Bouman via Facebook


Using data gathered by the Event Horizon Telescope, a network of radio telescopes spanning the globe, astrophysicists were able to piece together an image of a black hole positioned in the Messier 87 galaxy. More than 200 scientists have been working on the effort for over a decade.

Because the supermassive target is so distant -- 55 million light years from Earth -- scientists required concurrent data from eight radio observatories around the world. Spanning four continents and Hawaii, the EHT is essentially an Earth-sized telescope tasked with capturing evidence of a black hole's accretion disc. More specifically, the telescope network detects radiation emitted by particles in the mass of cosmic matter as it swirls toward the event horizon, the edge of the black hole beyond which nothing can escape.

While the black hole proper cannot be observed, the event horizon's shadow is set off against the comparatively bright accretion disc.

In April 2017, weather conditions allowed the telescopes, coordinated by atomic clocks, to take simultaneous readings of M87, reports The Guardian. According to EHT, petabytes of raw data was recorded and stored on what ultimately amounted to a half ton of hard drives.

Participating observatories include the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) and Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) in Chile, the IRAM 30-meter Telescope in Spain, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) and Submillimeter Array (SMA) in Hawaii, the Kitt Peak Telescope in Arizona, the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano (LMT) in Mexico, the Greenland Telescope (GLT) and the South Pole Telescope (SPT).

Gathering the data took years of preparation and a bit of luck, but combining that information necessitated the creation of completely new technology. Enter Katie Bouman, who as a graduate student in computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology three years ago led a team of researchers to create an algorithm robust enough to compile the EHT data. Not previously involved in the fields of astronomy or astrophysics, Bouman was recruited to the program while working on a PhD in computer vision.

The software, running on highly specialized supercomputers at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and MIT Haystack Observatory, was fed the radio telescope data last summer and slowly processed the image seen above. Bouman conducted multiple tests to verify the findings





"We all watched as the images appeared on our computer. The ring came so easily. It was unbelievable," Bouman said in a statement to Time. "Even though we had worked on this for years, I don't think any of us expected we would get a ring that easily. We just expected a blob."

Using a MacBook Pro, likely as a remote terminal, Bouman was among the first people in history to cast eyes on a black hole. The photo of her initial reaction was taken last year, but was kept secret until today's announcement.

Bouman will soon start work at Caltech as an assistant professor, though she intends to continue with the EHT as the project moves toward the collection of more advanced imagery like movies. Bouman's algorithm is also being used to process a data from a second black hole target, Sagittarius A*, which could yield results in the near future.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 387member
     What an incredible time to be alive! 
    leavingthebiggJFC_PAwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 36
    This is a little unclear. Were Macs used to process any of the data or did she just get the completed file emailed to her and view it on a Mac?
    KITA
  • Reply 3 of 36
    So cool!!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 36
    mubailimubaili Posts: 393member
    it has nothing to do with the Mac. Give Mac a break. 
    KITALatkoksecCarnagechemengin
  • Reply 5 of 36
    Johan42Johan42 Posts: 163member
    This is a little unclear. Were Macs used to process any of the data or did she just get the completed file emailed to her and view it on a Mac?
    All that data was certainly processed by hardware running Linux.
    CarnagecornchipSpamSandwich
  • Reply 6 of 36
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 729member
    This is the proof that TouchBar is not needed. :)
    MisterKit
  • Reply 7 of 36
    igerardigerard Posts: 12member
    matrix077 said:
    This is the proof that TouchBar is not needed. :)
    No, this is the proof that it takes time to get money to renew their equipment ;)
    dedgeckominicoffeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 36
    payecopayeco Posts: 315member
    The photo of the black hole next to this photo of
    Katie should be published on the front page of every newspaper and news site in the country. I think it would be a big inspiration for young girls in this country to see and hopefully inspire some of them to want to go into the STEM fields.
    changeagentmacplusplusDAalsethStrangeDayscurtis hannahfastasleepjohnbsiriuswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 36
    LatkoLatko Posts: 398member
    That Mac intuitively must have been looking where his mates disappeared
  • Reply 10 of 36
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 495member
    Probably most expensive image to date. 200 scientist working 10 years could do real miracles.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 36
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 972member
    matrix077 said:
    Okay, it is really sad that Apple would try to take even an iota of credit for this discovery. It is a cheap ploy to use such a profound accomplishment to try to sell product. Whoever wrote this should feel a lot of shame. It is disgusting and solidifies my resolve to NEVER buy apple products. 
    If you have resolve to NOT buy any Apple products then why you are here I wonder. :shrugs:
    THANK YOU!!!!  These people are so aggravating. Why not spend your time visiting sites about companies or subjects you are actual interested in. I miss when these forums were not full of Apple hate. It’s hard to believe this was where I developed my interest in Apple. 
    matrix077StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 36
    aknabiaknabi Posts: 173member
    igerard said:
    matrix077 said:
    This is the proof that TouchBar is not needed. :)
    No, this is the proof that it takes time to get money to renew their equipment ;)
    If they had refreshed with the new TB MBP with the worst-laptop-keyboard-ever feature we'd still be waiting for the black hole pics... ;)
    edited April 11
  • Reply 13 of 36
    I see she's hung on to her 2015 MBP. Smart move.
    Rembert
  • Reply 14 of 36
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,420member
    Kudos: real computer science work!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 36
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,420member
    This is a little unclear. Were Macs used to process any of the data or did she just get the completed file emailed to her and view it on a Mac?
    No, this Mac was used to visualize the ‘rendering’, in - if I understand correctly - a live view as the supercomputers compiled the data together ...
    ihatescreennameswatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 36
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 667member
    aknabi said:
    igerard said:
    matrix077 said:
    This is the proof that TouchBar is not needed. :)
    No, this is the proof that it takes time to get money to renew their equipment ;)
    If they had refreshed with the new TB MBP with the worst-laptop-keyboard-ever feature we'd still be waiting for the black hole pics... ;)
    I don't know why you all are ragging on the Touchbar.  When it came down to reaching into my own pocket, I didn't think it was worth the price.  It does seem like a cool thing though.  Say, were any AirPower charging pads spotted in any black hole images or are they already past the event horizon?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 36
    About 20 years ago, I used to tease a friend using PCs whenever a Mac would appear in a movie or a TV show. One of those silly things you do when you're young.

    It's also something you grow out of. 
  • Reply 18 of 36
    gutengelgutengel Posts: 323member
    But if you look closely, they are using MacBook Pros pre-trash-butterfly keyboards ;)
  • Reply 19 of 36
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 686member
    frantisek said:
    Probably most expensive image to date. 200 scientist working 10 years could do real miracles.
    This IS a real miracle. 
    JFC_PAStrangeDaysfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 36
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 357member
    DAalseth said:
    frantisek said:
    Probably most expensive image to date. 200 scientist working 10 years could do real miracles.
    This IS a real miracle. 
    Absolutely. 
    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.