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The Space Between Truth and Fiction Is Not so Strange Anymore

A black hole is photographed for the first time, thanks in part to Katie Bouman.

“Three years ago, Bouman led the creation of an algorithm that eventually helped capture this first-of-its-kind image: a supermassive black hole and its shadow at the center of a galaxy known as M87. She was then a graduate student in computer science and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

–Michelle Lou and Saeed Ahmed, CNN, ‘That image of a black hole you sae everywhere today? Thank this grad student for making it possible’

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) -- a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration -- was designed to capture images of a black hole. Today, in coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers reveal that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.

Amazing. And this amazement applies to the first image of a black hole in space as well as Ms. Bouman’s ground–well, space–breaking algorithm.

Life is about pushing boundaries, which is a particular topic of interest with the release of ‘First Man’ starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy and the recent theatrical release of the CNN documentary ‘Apollo 11’ chronicling America’s groundbreaking moon landing. While in awe of the image shown above, American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Kip Thorne and the science fiction epic ‘Interstellar’ by Christopher Nolan immediately came to mind. ‘Interstellar,’ while fiction, is painstakingly rooted in real science. Creating a realistic depiction of a black hole was pivotal to the story for the filmmakers, writers, and audience.

Was the ‘Interstellar’ crew right with their image of a black hole back in 2014?

Kip Thorne, Christopher Nolan, and the entire ‘Interstellar’ team were pretty damn close with their depiction of a black hole in 2014 to the first image of a black hole in 2019!

Who else is going to watch ‘Interstellar’ again?

This scientific revelation as compared to a cinematic epic validates and builds upon the lore of Mr. Nolan’s brilliance as a filmmaker and storyteller of spaces beyond our earthly realities. More importantly, the first image of a black hole is a game-changer in ways we are only just beginning to comprehend.

Yesterday was another giant leap for mankind.