Imaging a Black Hole with the Event Horizon Telescope


Katie Bouman

(California Institute of Technology)

Play Video

Date: April 18, 2019


This talk will present the methods and procedures used to produce the first results from the Event Horizon Telescope. It is theorized that a black hole will leave a “shadow” on a background of hot gas. Taking a picture of this black hole shadow could help to address a number of important scientific questions, both on the nature of black holes and the validity of general relativity. Unfortunately, due to its small size, traditional imaging approaches require an Earth-sized radio telescope. In this talk, I discuss techniques we have developed to photograph a black hole using the Event Horizon Telescope, a network of telescopes scattered across the globe. Imaging a black hole’s structure with this computational telescope requires us to reconstruct images from sparse measurements, heavily corrupted by atmospheric error.

This talk was sponsored by the Stanford Center for Image Systems Engineering  (SCIEN).   The SCIEN Colloquia are open to the public.  The talks are also videotaped and posted the following week on for Stanford students, staff, faculty and SCIEN Affiliate Member companies. If you wish to receive announcements of SCIEN talks, you can add yourself to the email distribution list by going here.

Further Information:

Katie Bouman is an assistant professor in the Computing and Mathematical Sciences Department at the California Institute of Technology. Before joining Caltech, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She received her Ph.D. in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT in EECS. Before coming to MIT, she received her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan. The focus of her research is on using emerging computational methods to push the boundaries of interdisciplinary imaging.

Created: Friday, April 19th, 2019