Since the victory of Neil Armstrong in 1969 as the first man on the moon, America has been fighting to engineer technology that grants us more information about what lies beyond Earth. Last month, an Earth-shattering image was captured for the first time in history. For years leading up to this moment, a team of astrophysicists and experts in computer science have been testing methods and algorithms in order to fit the pieces together. Being some 55 million light-years away from Earth, the technology that allowed us to capture this image is nothing less than astounding. To see a coherent picture of the phenomenon the team needed to essentially mold all of the messy, unclear pictures together to form a clear image. The captured void is located in the Virgo galaxy cluster which is the home to 2000 dwarf galaxies and also home to our home: Earth. It is enormous, to say the least.
Previously compared to a “ring of fire”, the black hole is created by a force of gravity and deformation of space-time which allows the light to circle around the black hole. Mrs. Mauer, a biology and chemistry teacher here at WPHS commented on what discoveries she believes the black hole will inspire. “It fuels a lot more interest into space exploration. I also think it opens up a lot of possible research into things like time travel and the nature of time itself.” We’ve done it once, who’s to say we won’t do it again? This image- and in particular, the way it was created will open many new doors that as of now, are far off in the distance. The combination of pictures from all around the World was very successful in this event and can be for many more. Unexplored mysteries far in the distance can now be captured using this new strategy. A sighting this massive and long-awaited is sure to take the STEM realm by storm and uncover many questions that the population has been speculating about for centuries.
One of the most exciting aspects of the discovery is that a woman by the name of Katie Bouman, a computer scientist, was the expert that finally cracked the code! She was accompanied by a few women on her team and several men- who deserve no less applause. When asked if it feels rewarding that women played a large role in the unveiled black hole, Mrs. Mauer said proudly, “Absolutely. I think that any time we see females in science or math-related fields, it’s really important to highlight that to empower women.”
Comparing major setbacks of the World to the myriad of improvements, the civilization that we call home has come a long way the past few centuries. We may not have reached the standards that Back to the Future has set, but we will continue to reach for the stars and try until we succeed.