Here are five standout moments from this year’s event, which took place April 27 through May 3 both virtually and live in Salt Lake City:
Astronomer Helps Bring
Black Hole To Life Using
Open-Source Data Analysis
In her first live speaking engagement since the start of the pandemic, NASA Einstein Fellow Sara Issaoun shared in a keynote how the first-ever image of a black hole was captured with the help of more than 200 scientists and engineers in 20 countries—and the open-source power of Python.
Issaoun, an observational astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard & Smithsonian and a member of the black hole-imaging Event
Horizon Telescope collaboration, helped pioneer new technology to discover what happens near a black hole. Eight of the world’s most sensitive radio telescopes acted as a single virtual telescope to capture light that was 55 million light years away and generate data equal to a half ton of hard drives. Thanks to Python, this dataset was analyzed over the course of two years to deliver the image of the black hole that was shared in 2019.
In addition to delivering this iconic image, the Event Horizon collaboration continues to provide fresh data on how black holes interact with our galaxy.
Einstein Fellow, NASA
We were giving the world something special, something it could be part of, something that shows science can be bigger than one person.”