Black Hole Image Has an Open Source Connection

Apr 16, 2019

Two imaging libraries responsible for the image are fully open source.

Last week the whole world was stunned by seeing what was unseen – a black hole. Scientists were able to create picture of a black hole named Messier 87 in the Virgo A galaxy. The black hole is more than 55 million light years away.

The first image of a black hole is the outcome of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, which created a virtual telescope as big as earth by networking 8 ground-based telescopes. The telescopes generated more than five petabyte of data. Collecting data was the first part of the puzzle. The team of scientists used various algorithms to fill gaps in this data to be able to generate an image of the black hole.

TFIR reports that the team of scientists used three imaging algorithm for image processing, and two of these were fully open source Python libraries – Sparselab and ehtim.

Sparselab is a Python Library for Interferometric Imaging using Sparse Modeling.

ehtim is a Python module for simulating and manipulating VLBI data and producing images with regularized maximum likelihood methods.

The source code of these libraries is published on GitHub under GNU GPLv3 licenses.

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