Artificial intelligence may have just given astronomers a better idea of what black holes really look like

  • Researchers released a new, clearer image of what they believe the M87 black hole looks like.

  • They developed a machine learning algorithm to provide clearer images of the black hole first released in 2019.

  • The algorithm used data from thousands of simulated black holes to fill in gaps of data that created the 2019 images.

A group of astronomers released what they believe is a more accurate depiction of the M87 black hole, images they created using artificial intelligence to fill in the gaps from photos first released by researchers in 2019.

The new images, published Thursday in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, could provide important information for scientists studying the M87 black hole and others in the future, researchers said.

The original image — first captured by the Event Horizon Telescope in 2017 — was taken using a collection of high-powered telescopes around the globe focused on the black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy. The hole is about 54 million light years away from Earth and located within the constellation Virgo.

However, as the world cannot be covered in telescopes to capture a clearer image, researchers developed a machine learning algorithm that could interpret the data from thousands of simulated images of what black holes should look like based on decades of calculations to fill in the gaps from the 2019 images, researchers said.

"With our new machine learning technique, PRIMO, we were able to achieve the maximum resolution of the current array," lead author Dr. Lia Medeiros said in a statement. "Since we cannot study black holes up-close, the detail of an image plays a critical role in our ability to understand its behavior."

Researchers said the thinner orange line around the black hole is produced by the emissions of hot gas falling into the black hole, and noted the new images still align with data captured by the Event Horizon Telescope and theoretical expectations.

They said the accuracy of the technology in analyzing the M87 black hole could allow researchers to use it to study other astronomical objects that have been captured by the Event Horizon Telescope, including Sagittarius A*, the central black hole in our own Milky Way galaxy.

Read the original article on Business Insider