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Imaging Black Holes with Python

Episode #398, published Sat, Jan 14, 2023, recorded Mon, Dec 12, 2022

The iconic and first ever image of a black hole was recently released. It took over a decade of work and is a major achievement for astronomy and broadens our understanding of the universe for all of us. Would it surprise you to know that Python played a major part in this discovery? Of course it did, and Dr. Sara Issaoun is here to give us the full story.

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Links from the show

Sara's PyCon keynote:
Sara on Twitter: @saraissaoun
Event Horizon Telescope:
Black Hole Image Makes History; NASA Telescopes Coordinated Observations:
Event Horizon Data:
Imaging, analysis, and simulation software for radio interferometry Package:
Initial data showing ring (matplotlib) (video at time):
Mars 2020 Helicopter GitHub Badge:
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Sara Issaoun
Sara Issaoun
Sara Issaoun is a NASA Einstein Fellow, observational astronomer at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and member of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration. Her research centers around the collection, calibration, and imaging of millimeter-wave radio observations of supermassive black holes. Supermassive black holes generate the highest energy processes in the known Universe, ejecting jets of plasma affecting galaxy environments on large scales, but their dynamics and emission mechanisms remain shrouded in mystery. She makes use of global networks of radio-telescopes to image and study the immediate surroundings of the supermassive black holes at the centers of our Galaxy and the galaxy M87. Sara is a leading contributor of the data analysis and imaging efforts that led to the first image of a black hole in 2019 and the first image of our Milky Way black hole in 2022.
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