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Astrophysicist Tries Machine Learning To Generate a Black Hole Movie

One of the scientists who worked on the black hole picture is now pursuing an even more ambitious visualization, this time for the super-massive black hole at the center of our own galaxy.

Long-time Slashdot reader Esther Schindler shares this report from Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Insights blog:

Lia Medeiros, a physicist, astrophysicist, and National Science Foundation fellow, is working to put together a movie of sorts of a black hole, using data from the Event Horizon Telescope, a global telescope array that gave scientists the data needed to capture that first black hole image. And she’s going to do it using machine learning… Scientists basically will be pitting Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which tells us what we know, or think we know, about gravity, against the most powerful gravitational forces in the universe. It’s about comparing these new black hole observations with predictions based on our mathematical models of them. And if general relativity doesn’t fully hold up at the event horizon, then the theory may need to be rethought.

Her work also could tell us more about how quantum mechanics, which is still quite mysterious to the best physicists, interacts with the theory of gravity… Having a black hole movie could be a scientific game changer because they are one of the only types of objects in the universe that scientists need both theories to explain. Black holes, simply put, live at the intersection of quantum and gravity. Movies of a black hole could give scientists the information they need to see if they behave the way we expect them to, helping them figure out the complicated intersection of two major scientific theories.


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