Astronomers piece together first image of black hole

April 12, 2017 by Laurence Coustal
Theoretical astronomy tells us that when a black hole absorbs matter, a brief flash of light is visible as depicted in this artist's rendering

After training a network of telescopes stretching from Hawaii to Antarctica to Spain at the heart of our galaxy for five nights running, astronomers said Wednesday they may have snapped the first-ever picture of a black hole.

It will take months to develop the image, but if scientists succeed the results may help peel back mysteries about what the universe is made of and how it came into being.

"Instead of building a telescope so big that it would probably collapse under its own weight, we combined eight observatories like the pieces of a giant mirror," said Michael Bremer, an astronomer at the International Research Institute for Radio Astronomy (IRAM) and a project manager for the Event Horizon Telescope.

"This gave us a virtual telescope as big as Earth—about 10,000 kilometres (6,200 miles) is diameter," he told AFP.

The bigger the telescope, the finer the resolution and level of detail.

The targeted is hidden in plain sight, lurking in the centre of the Milky Way in a region called the Sagittarius constellation, some 26,000 light years from Earth.

Dubbed Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short), the gravity- and light-sucking monster weighs as much as four million Suns.

Theoretical astronomy tells us when a black hole absorbs matter—planets, debris, anything that comes too close—a brief flash of light is visible.

No going back

Black holes also have a boundary, called an event horizon.

The British astronomer Stephen Hawking has famously compared crossing this boundary to going over Niagra Falls in a canoe: if you are above the falls, it is still possible to escape if you paddle hard enough.

Once you tip over the edge, however, there's no going back.

The Event Horizon Telescope radio-dish network is designed to detect the light cast-off when object disappear across that boundary.

"For the first time in our history, we have the technological capacity to observe in detail," said Bremer.

The trained on the middle of the Milky Way is powerful enough to spot a golf ball on the Moon, he said.

The 30-metre IRAM , located in the Spanish Sierra Nevada mountains, is the only European observatory taking part in the international effort.

Other telescopes contributing to the project include the South Pole Telescope in Antarctica, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in the desert of northern Chile.

All the data—some 500 terabytes per station—will be collected and flown on jetliners to the MIT Haystack Observatory in Massachusetts, where it will be processed by supercomputers.

"The images will emerge as we combine all the data," Bremer explained. "But we're going to have to wait several months for the result."

Explore further: Astronomers hoping to directly capture image of a black hole

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thisisminesothere
5 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2017
Had my hopes up there Phys.org. You really did...
BackBurner
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2017
If this telescope is capable of imaging a golf ball on the Moon, it could put an end to much of the fooforaw surrounding the alleged "Apollo Hoax" and, at the same time measure the distance of Alan Shepard's historic golf shot in 1971?
jonesdave
4.7 / 5 (14) Apr 12, 2017
If this telescope is capable of imaging a golf ball on the Moon, it could put an end to much of the fooforaw surrounding the alleged "Apollo Hoax" and, at the same time measure the distance of Alan Shepard's historic golf shot in 1971?


Dafuq are you talking about? Japanese spacecraft have seen the Apollo landers on the moon! Get up to date, yes?
Mimath224
5 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2017
Had my hopes up there Phys.org. You really did...

Lets hope P.O. follow this and post any results later on.
BackBurner
5 / 5 (4) Apr 13, 2017


Dafuq are you talking about? Japanese spacecraft have seen the Apollo landers on the moon! Get up to date, yes?


I sense humor isn't your strong suit.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2017
And now the data processing, which is where the real work is. Nice follow-up phys.org. This will be very interesting to follow and I hope you do.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Apr 13, 2017
this is really going to be a hoot when benji sees it... he is the one constantly asking certain folk to show him a pic of a black hole

ROTFLMFAO
Mimath224
5 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2017
Had my hopes up there Phys.org. You really did...

Lets hope P.O. follow this and post any results later on.


And now the data processing, which is where the real work is. Nice follow-up phys.org. This will be very interesting to follow and I hope you do.

I hope the future follow ups match our hopes.
Homebrook
4 / 5 (4) Apr 13, 2017
I wish scientific articles would omit the fallacious "artist rendering." They are never anything close to reality. They are simply figments of someone's imagination and simply serve to propagate misconceptions. What the artist depicted is simply not true. It is not what a black hole looks like. If there were an actual image it would be included. These 'pictures' are not any more true or closer to reality than the scaly sea serpents depicted on old medieval maps of the world.
Captain Stumpy
4.5 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
These 'pictures' are not any more true or closer to reality than the scaly sea serpents depicted on old medieval maps of the world
@homebrook
but they also serve the same purpose as said scaly sea serpents depicted...

the depiction serves to state "danger, there be dragons here" which will stimulate the curious to inquire and the fearful to retreat

art is also a useful tool to stimulate new minds and lead them to inquire as well as popularize science...

just talk to @Whydening Gyre
HannesAlfven
2.3 / 5 (9) Apr 13, 2017
What are the thoughts here on the falsifiability of this observation? Can this mission result in a scenario where the astronomers tell the world that black holes do not exist?
HannesAlfven
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2017
This mission was my first exposure to the term "computational telescope". They should use that label beneath the image they're going to publish; it would help to clear a lot of things up.
HannesAlfven
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2017
When the announcements are eventually made, it is this quote which I want you to remember ...

https://www.ted.c...t-432870

"If we had telescopes located everywhere on the globe — in other words, the entire disco ball — this would be trivial. However, we only see a few samples, and for that reason, there are an infinite number of possible images that are perfectly consistent with our telescope measurements. However, not all images are created equal. Some of those images look more like what we think of as images than others. And so, my role in helping to take the first image of a black hole is to design algorithms that find the most reasonable image that also fits the telescope measurements ..."

(cont'd)
HannesAlfven
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2017
(cont'd)

"Since there are an infinite number of possible images that perfectly explain our telescope measurements, we have to choose between them in some way. We do this by ranking the images based upon how likely they are to be the black hole image, and then choosing the one that's most likely ...

We need a way to tell our algorithms what images look like without imposing one type of image's features too much. One way we can try to get around this is by imposing the features of different kinds of images and seeing how the type of image we assume affects our reconstructions. If all images' types produce a very similar-looking image, then we can start to become more confident that the image assumptions we're making are not biasing this picture that much ..."
HannesAlfven
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 13, 2017
I am going to bet that many of you were going into this situation unaware of the role that algorithms are playing in this impending media event.
HannesAlfven
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 13, 2017
I'm curious if the pronouncements will explain how these algorithms work. So far, people seem uninterested -- maybe even a little unaware.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (9) Apr 13, 2017
@hannes/reeve multi-sock eu psuedoscience conspiracist
I'm curious if the pronouncements will explain how these algorithms work. So far, people seem uninterested -- maybe even a little unaware.
or maybe people just read the prior articles and went to the website
http://eventhoriz...cope.org

there is even a neat little link you can click to inquire
... i am willing to bet it is labeled "contact us"

i will also bet there are multiple contacts with multiple means to contact them

you would think a "researcher" with a higher education would be able to figure that much out ...
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (9) Apr 13, 2017
I'm curious if the pronouncements will explain how these algorithms work.

These algorithms have been around since the 1970's
https://en.wikipe...erometry
cortezz
5 / 5 (9) Apr 13, 2017
Just for example, scanning electron microscopes and some other devices use algorithms to produce the pictures but I haven't seen anybody calling them hoax.
Da Schneib
4.6 / 5 (9) Apr 13, 2017
I'm curious if the pronouncements will explain how these algorithms work.

These algorithms have been around since the 1970's
The underlying concepts have been understood for a very long time. It's quite similar to what happens when you use a View Master. The camera takes two pictures, from offset locations, and the two pictures are put on a disk opposite one another and sent to your eyes separately. Your brain interprets this as adding depth to the picture; the mechanism that does this is in your brain, and is the same one you use for normal depth perception.

Amusingly, @Hannes seems to be suspicious of its own brain. No surprise there. So are we all.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (7) Apr 13, 2017
It's worth noting that the VLTI uses an array of four telescopes to create an aperture of 130 meters maximum, using the optical version of these algorithms, yielding a maximum theoretical optical resolution of 8 milliarcseconds. Even more a propos, the VLA creates a radio telescope with an aperture of 42 km or 26 miles. The VLA is capable of resolution of 4 milliarcseconds. The VLA uses a simplified version of the algorithm that will be used to combine the observations this article refers to from an array of 27 25-meter radio telescopes. It's simpler because the individual instruments are geometrically distributed, not pseudo-randomly as the instruments used for this observation are.

The VLTI discovered the orbiting stars around the Milky Way black hole that confirmed that its mass must be within the Schwarzchild radius and it must be a black hole.
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
Once again, it appears that there is a tendency to make assumptions about what is happening which is biased towards a non-critical attitude. Look carefully at how the researchers are positioning what is about to happen ...

https://www.ted.c...t-432870

"Is it possible to see something that, by definition, is impossible to see? ...

this black hole is so far away from us, that from Earth, this ring appears incredibly small — the same size to us as an orange on the surface of the moon. That makes taking a picture of it extremely difficult ...

even with the most powerful optical telescopes here on Earth, we can't even get close to the resolution necessary to image on the surface of the moon. In fact, here I show one of the highest resolution images ever taken of the moon from Earth. It contains roughly 13,000 pixels, and yet each pixel would contain over 1.5 million oranges ..."

(cont'd)
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
(cont'd)

"So how big of a telescope do we need in order to see an orange on the surface of the moon and, by extension, our black hole? Well, it turns out that by crunching the numbers, you can easily calculate that we would need a telescope the size of the entire Earth.

If we could build this Earth-sized telescope, we could just start to make out that distinctive ring of light indicative of the black hole's event horizon. Although this picture wouldn't contain all the detail we see in computer graphic renderings, it would allow us to safely get our first glimpse of the immediate environment around a black hole.

by connecting telescopes from around the world, an international collaboration called the Event Horizon Telescope is creating a computational telescope the size of the Earth ...

So how does this even work? ..."

(cont'd)
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
(cont'd)

"For just a second, let's pretend we could build a telescope the size of the Earth. This would be a little bit like turning the Earth into a giant spinning disco ball. Each individual mirror would collect light that we could then combine together to make a picture. However, now let's say we remove most of those mirrors so only a few remained. We could still try to combine this information together, but now there are a lot of holes. These remaining mirrors represent the locations where we have telescopes. This is an incredibly small number of measurements to make a picture from. But although we only collect light at a few telescope locations, as the Earth rotates, we get to see other new measurements ..."

(cont'd)
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
(cont'd)

"In other words, as the disco ball spins, those mirrors change locations and we get to observe different parts of the image. The imaging algorithms we develop fill in the missing gaps of the disco ball in order to reconstruct the underlying black hole image. If we had telescopes located everywhere on the globe — in other words, the entire disco ball — this would be trivial. However, we only see a few samples, and for that reason, there are an infinite number of possible images that are perfectly consistent with our telescope measurements. However, not all images are created equal. Some of those images look more like what we think of as images than others. And so, my role in helping to take the first image of a black hole is to design algorithms that find the most reasonable image that also fits the telescope measurements ..."
HannesAlfven
2.2 / 5 (10) Apr 13, 2017
So, if these images fail to produce the expected ring, the astronomers already have their explanations prepared for why this would not require that there is no black hole.

More likely, what will happen is that of the blurry images which will be produced, one or maybe even more can be interpreted by their algorithms to resemble a ring.

In reality, this should not be especially compelling, because as the astronomers are emphasizing, they do not actually know what a black hole should look like, and they are forced to basically bias the algorithms towards what the simulations suggest a black hole should look like so that they can "rank" out images which are not black holes.

What becomes lost in their process is any opportunity for a negative result. This is what I desire to emphasize: that this is more of a media event than true, falsifiable science.
barakn
3.9 / 5 (11) Apr 13, 2017
lol. Hannes is armoring up against the inevitable imaging of a black hole not by critiquing the actual algorithms being used but by attacking one PhD candidate's TED talk which was extremely dumbed-down to make the science even somewhat understandable to people like Hannes.
bschott
3 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
lol. Hannes is armoring up against the inevitable imaging of a black hole

Actually, Hannes is correctly pointing out that an object that is dark because it "sucks in" light cannot be imaged by any instruments which absorb light...this appears to be above you for some reason. Especially when said object is completely surrounded by light emitting particles.
not by critiquing the actual algorithms being used but by attacking one PhD candidate's TED talk which was extremely dumbed-down to make the science even somewhat understandable to people like Hannes.

Funny that Hannes understands the catch 22 of imaging a BH but none of the "PHD's" get it...how dumbed down does that have to be for them to understand?
Here, let me try: IT ABSORBS LIGHT AND IS SURROUNDED BY LIGHT, THEREFORE IT CANNOT BE IMAGED BY INSTRUMENTS WHICH REQUIRE AN OBJECT TO EMIT LIGHT IN ORDER FOR THEM TO SEE IT.
Or do you need a TED talk?
Dark_Solar
5 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2017
This is exactly why we need to get back/establish a permanent live presence on the moon; yes, it's teeming with electrostatically charged dust, would present immense problems in terms of keeping any telescope constructed there clean and would be horrendously expensive...but the observational advantage rendered via lack of atmospheric interference and blank-slate nature of its surface would more than make up for the inconvenience factor. Think of it: a swarm of thousands or hundreds of thousands of site-built lunar mini-rovers, each one carrying a solar panel, battery pack, small-field radio telescope, selective-charge electrostatic generator (to help repel the dust) and a gps-based co-ordination system --and all of them with the singular purpose of travelling to some location around a central station, registering their position and then never moving again...one made-to-order scope with a 'dish' hundreds of miles across.
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
@hannes/reeve the eu pseudoscience socks
@bs
IT ABSORBS LIGHT AND IS SURROUNDED BY LIGHT, THEREFORE IT CANNOT BE IMAGED BY INSTRUMENTS WHICH REQUIRE AN OBJECT TO EMIT LIGHT IN ORDER FOR THEM TO SEE IT.
i know this may well be above you, but perhaps this will make it more clear

please show me where the wind is in this picture:
http://www.newsre...nd-9.jpg
KelDude
not rated yet Apr 13, 2017
Wow, they're rushing the data back on "jetliners". Whew, talk about giving us the news! That's a truly remarkable piece of information.
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
Re: "Hannes is armoring up against the inevitable imaging of a black hole not by critiquing the actual algorithms being used but by attacking one PhD candidate's TED talk which was extremely dumbed-down to make the science even somewhat understandable to people like Hannes."

It's funny how little scientific method suddenly starts mattering here when the preferred ideology is on the line. Of all of the topics discussed by the graduate student who is tasked with processing the images of the event horizon, the issue of biasing the algorithms dominates the entire talk. And I do believe that anybody who actually takes the time to think about what they're saying should see why:

They don't know for sure what a black hole actually looks like; but the imaging process they're using requires an ability to rank out images which are not black holes.

Please take a break from fighting the good fight long enough to grapple with the inherent problem there.
Captain Stumpy
2.5 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
@hannes/reeve the eu pseudoscience cult socks
Please take a break from fighting the good fight long enough to grapple with the inherent problem there
this is your moment to shine and prove the eu is more than just a cult of pseudoscience nutters

please explain, using your superior research skills, the problem with the algorithm

be very specific so that everyone can understand it, just like your ted talk link above
be clear, concise and post the specific argument and why it is the issue

no vague references, no "read or watch the ted talk"

be very clear

.

... before you answer, re-read my last post and think about it really hard

Solon
1 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
It must be kept in mind that radio telescopes, as with optical telescopes, do not work from outside of Earths atmosphere, which is why there are none and never will be. What about Hubble then? Not a conventional telescope, and the data also requires huge amounts of processing and artistic license. Only cameras take photographs, and the images are available instantly and require no supercomputer processing.
bschott
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2017

@bs
IT ABSORBS LIGHT AND IS SURROUNDED BY LIGHT, THEREFORE IT CANNOT BE IMAGED BY INSTRUMENTS WHICH REQUIRE AN OBJECT TO EMIT LIGHT IN ORDER FOR THEM TO SEE IT.
i know this may well be above you, but perhaps this will make it more clear

please show me where the wind is in this picture:
http://www.newsre...nd-9.jpg


The physical properties of wind, how it is generated and how we "know it is there", are all measurable. We do not EVER have to INFER information about it. As a science illiterate, I am not surprised you would compare something that can be measured and observed to something that can't, to something whose existence is based on math, assumption and poorly interpreted information.
There is no difference between stating "BH's are there because of how I interpret the things I see" to stating "God is there because of how I interpret the things I see"...but from a physics standpoint this method has better odds of imaging God.
HannesAlfven
1.9 / 5 (9) Apr 13, 2017
Re: "please explain, using your superior research skills, the problem with the algorithm"

Okay, now imagine the response if the Thunderbolts Group had designed a mission to image filaments at the center of the Milky Way whereby the algorithm has been trained to know what a plasma filament looks like (yet ignores all rings).

Imagine if they announced upfront that we lack the resolution required to see these filaments, but we're going to take some blurry pictures anyways and train our algorithms to deduce from those blurry images the presence of filaments.

The problem with this Event Horizon mission -- and other missions like it -- is that when people refuse to call it for what it is, then you are actually opening the door to other groups using the same technique to vindicate competing ideas which you like much less.
HannesAlfven
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
This is far more than just a hypothetical scenario. You might have a glance at the method of multilevel dynamical contrasting (MDC) deployed by A.B. Kukushkin and V.A. Rantsev-Kartinov to image what they call "skeletal structures" in all sorts of media. For a specific example, I would recommend taking a look at the application of this technique to galaxies in the image on this page:

https://www.resea...nd_space

A slippery slope you're taking us to here ...
Whydening Gyre
4.6 / 5 (11) Apr 13, 2017
It must be kept in mind that radio telescopes, as with optical telescopes, do not work from outside of Earths atmosphere, which is why there are none and never will be.

Man what Universe do YOU live in?
What about Hubble then? Not a conventional telescope, and the data also requires huge amounts of processing and artistic license.

"Don't trust Technology!", he shouts...
Only cameras take photographs, and the images are available instantly and require no supercomputer processing.

Ahhh... You're referring to DIGITAL cameras, no doubt...
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2017
What must be emphasized is that it is unlikely that any of these "computational telescope" concerns will make it into the announcement of a successful observation of an event horizon.

And that is increasingly the pattern we see in modern science -- that there is a media frenzy hype which for many unwitting people is vindication of this narrative that science is conquering the universe.

The science itself benefits enormously from the feelings that these press releases induce in the public. People will be that much quicker to come to the defense of black holes, because to take the black hole away from them after all of this would also deprive them of those feelings of self-importance that the scientists gave humanity.

Each of these big media events slowly turns the public away from a more sensible, cautious, unemotional approach to science.
barakn
4.1 / 5 (13) Apr 13, 2017
lol. Hannes is armoring up against the inevitable imaging of a black hole

Actually, Hannes is correctly pointing out that an object that is dark because it "sucks in" light cannot be imaged by any instruments which absorb light...this appears to be above you for some reason. Especially when said object is completely surrounded by light emitting particles.

No. Most of us understand that "imaging a black hole" really means imaging the accretion disk and jets around the black hole as well as the light of "background" objects warped by the black hole's gravity well. I guess we have to dumb it down for you even more.
Solon
1 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2017

Ahhh... You're referring to DIGITAL cameras, no doubt...


Yes, Bayer filtered. When I see NASA allow a "peoples space telescope" to fly, and make the images instantly available, I'll believe them.

Testbed Paves Way for Amateur Space Telescope
http://www.skyand...xsY.dpuf
Solon
1 / 5 (2) Apr 13, 2017
How will the image compare to SOFIAs in the IR?
https://www.nasa....e_c.html
wxw
2.8 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2017
I'm really sad to see that nutters like HannesAlfven can post here and I have no way to block him so I don't have to read the drivel he posts. Where is the block user option?
bschott
2.5 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017

No. Most of us understand that "imaging a black hole" really means imaging the accretion disk and jets around the black hole as well as the light of "background" objects warped by the black hole's gravity well

Ahhhh....so imaging a BH REALLY means imaging everything in a region where a BH is theorized to be that emits light...and then claiming this happens because it is a BH. LMAO....you don't need any new methods of doing this...you have it mastered already.
I guess we have to dumb it down for you even more.

No...this is as dumb as it gets.

HannesAlfven
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2017
Re: "I'm really sad to see that nutters like HannesAlfven can post here and I have no way to block him so I don't have to read the drivel he posts. Where is the block user option?"

It's so sad that you have to see people questioning assumptions and pointing to various critiques of modern science. Are you gonna be okay?
Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 13, 2017
I'm really sad to see that nutters like HannesAlfven can post here and I have no way to block him so I don't have to read the drivel he posts. Where is the block user option?
@wxw
at the bottom of the post from the user you dislike, there is a link for "ignore user"
you can use that link
OR
when you get to the comments section, there is a slider to filter visible comments by rank

unfortunately, this will also block legit posts because there are some folk who create sock puppets and armies of socks to downrate because they can't actually provide anything legitimate supported by evidence

.

.

.

The physical properties of wind, how it is generated and how we "know it is there", are all measurable. We do not EVER have to INFER information about it
@full-of-bs
ahh, you were so close
maybe the hint from barakn will help you understand the point i made with the link...oops
never mind
i see you still don't get it
LMFAO
bschott
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2017
i see you still don't get it

If what you understand is "getting it".....then no thank God, I don't. I'll stick with understanding the classical meanings of falsifiability, facts, measurement and Theory.
You can stick with thinking your intelligence is reflected by your ability to provide links to things that support your beliefs...and hostility that you reflect at those who have different ones than you.
Good luck.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2017
I'll stick with understanding the classical meanings of falsifiability, facts, measurement and Theory
@full of bs
i can prove you don't comprehend or understand falsifiability, facts, measurement and Theory with your own words and a single link
If you want to live, get your hands on a primercube...
I am in a position to help if he wants it
https://phys.org/news/2016-03-death-gamma-ray-bound-cosmological-constant.html

funny thing: i was willing to put my money where my mouth was per your own request
how much $ would you put on your belief that you have made a correct evaluation here?
i wonder why you backed out of it? [rhetorical - you would have lost too much $$]

maybe it was because you couldn't find evidence that conformed to your falsifiability, facts, measurement and met the requirements of the scientific method?

LOL
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2017
PS for you @full of bs
and hostility that you reflect at those who have different ones than you.
there are plenty of people who have very different opinions and beliefs about things that i highly respect simply because they have opposing views
Antialias_physorg is one of them

.

one thing i don't uprate is pseudoscience and idiots who think magic magnet cancer machines work and can "prove it" by showing me a random web-site with anecdote that can't in any way be verified, let alone validated

you're the one who wants people to believe the cancer killer - but you can't provide anything objective?

it's all subjective opinionated biased bullsh*t based on pure faith with absolutely no empirical evidence

but at least you set me straight with your beliefs about your "classical meanings of falsifiability, facts, measurement and Theory"
ROTFLMFAO
bschott
1 / 5 (4) Apr 13, 2017
It appears Stump is having an episode folks. He wants to talk about NOT the article as his mental shortcomings were becoming all too apparent, so he believes a link to a thread where he believes he proved a point will somehow mask his complete ineptness when it comes to understanding the physical concepts the rest of us were discussing and he was misunderstanding.
I enabled him by responding when he went off topic and we may now never get him back....Celebrations folks!
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (9) Apr 13, 2017
Hmmm, they don't trust math, they don't trust technology, they don't trust theories, they don't trust simulations, they don't trust Einstein, they don't trust Newton, they don't trust Maxwell...

Methinks I discern a pattern here.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (3) Apr 13, 2017
Re: "Hmmm, they don't trust math, they don't trust technology, they don't trust theories, they don't trust simulations, they don't trust Einstein, they don't trust Newton, they don't trust Maxwell..."

I've been quite specific with my complaints on this.
IMP-9
5 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
They don't know for sure what a black hole actually looks like; but the imaging process they're using requires an ability to rank out images which are not black holes.


That is absolutely not what was said. Please stop pretending to quote them. Image reconstruction algorithms (which are ubiquitously used in fields such as medical imaging) are not based on a subjective ranking or how much they look like the model. A typical method is the maximum entropy method which ranks images by a statistical measure of the entropy of the image. It essentially gives you the image which is consistent with the data but contains the least information. If there is any ever doubt with image reconstruction you simply go back to the observed visibility, this is what models will be fit to because they are objective. In the case where the u,v plane is well sampled the reconstructed images will be pretty close to the real thing.
IMP-9
5 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
Imaging simulations are perfectly deterministic to test the reconstruction. If you don't believe the reconstruction it's quite possible to show your model is consistent with the data, if you can be bothered to think about it.

Now that you've mentioned the thunderbolts project I've seen many, many images from radio arrays on that site over the years. All (Michelson) interferometers use image reconstruction, they don't measure images. Funny that now is the point where image reconstruction is bad and yet the thunderbolts crew didn't care until now and you didn't mention it in the ALMA article last week. You only bother to scrutinise the methods when you don't like the questions they ask.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (4) Apr 13, 2017
Re: "Now that you've mentioned the thunderbolts project I've seen many, many images from radio arrays on that site over the years. All (Michelson) interferometers use image reconstruction, they don't measure images. Funny that now is the point where image reconstruction is bad and yet the thunderbolts crew didn't care until now and you didn't mention it in the ALMA article last week. You only bother to scrutinise the methods when you don't like the questions they ask."

All of that imagery you are pointing to was created without any knowledge of what the future interpretation would be.

In this case, we have a team which is on a fishing expedition to find something, and they have the luxury of being able to tweak the algorithms to suit their observational needs. There are no rules here which clarify what a failure would be.

It's not at all the same as the situations you're citing above.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2017
If you read through the transcript, it's apparent that the speaker already accepts the existence of black holes ...

"Imaging ideas like this will make it possible for us to take our very first pictures of a black hole, and hopefully, verify those famous theories on which scientists rely on a daily basis."

How curious that somebody who is part of this team would speak as though the question of existence has already been settled. She's likely reflecting the way in which the other researchers speak of the project.

The mission plainly assumes the existence of black holes. It's not actually a "test" of the idea.
IMP-9
5 / 5 (8) Apr 13, 2017
All of that imagery you are pointing to was created without any knowledge of what the future interpretation would be.


I'm sorry how does the observer having some idea of what it might look like affect a statistic like that used in maximum entropy? It doesn't. The algorithms they will use for reconstruction will be the same ones used for other radio astronomy imaging. Any new algorithm will require a paper to explain it and justify it's use. Ultimately it will be suspect if some new reconstructions are vastly different from existing methods and will require further study. The correlated data will be public in the end.

You're literally asserting that they're going to do something illegitimate before they've even done it. That's baseless conspiracy theory, not science. Rejecting the evidence before it even exists is stone cold dogma.

HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2017
Re: "You're literally asserting that they're going to do something illegitimate before they've even done it. That's baseless conspiracy theory, not science. Rejecting the evidence before it even exists is stone cold dogma."

Dogma is assuming that some hypothetical construct exists even as you are attempting to image said construct for the first time.
Da Schneib
4.1 / 5 (9) Apr 13, 2017
Dogma is assuming that some hypothetical construct exists even as you are attempting to image said construct for the first time.
It's not hypothetical.

Star orbits plus Newtonian gravity tell us there's an object there that has an escape velocity greater than the speed of light. <- factual evidence that proves a crucial prediction of a hypothesis is correct

A hypothesis that makes successful predictions has been tested, and is then a theory, not a hypothesis.

There's something there. We're going to image it. <- obtaining more evidence for the theory

As for dogma, EU sounds like dogma to me, and everyone else sensible too. Rejecting evidence is a sure pointer to dogma. Rejecting selected evidence while accepting other evidence of the same or lesser quality even moreso.
HannesAlfven
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2017
Re: "A hypothesis that makes successful predictions has been tested, and is then a theory, not a hypothesis."

The black hole construct is of course part of a larger framework of ideas. They serve functions for that framework. The framework needs black holes -- or else, there are explanatory gaps. Other frameworks would explain the same observations in different ways, and wouldn't necessarily have this functional need for them.

Your ideas about epistemology are pre-Kuhnian. You're describing what is called "normal" science. But, cosmology cannot fairly be categorized as "normal" science, because cosmologists are struggling to account for a significant chunk of their matter. That suggests that some sort of revolution is eventually going to occur.

Revolutions tend to occur at the framework level, and there is no guarantee that black holes will be needed once cosmology gets its house in order.
Solon
1 / 5 (5) Apr 14, 2017
"Revolutions tend to occur at the framework level, and there is no guarantee that black holes will be needed once cosmology gets its house in order."

Hear, hear.
Da Schneib
4.5 / 5 (8) Apr 14, 2017
@Hannes, you have an "other framework" than Newtonian gravity? It seems to work just fine (with minor corrections noted below) for ephemerides which are published every year, and which all turn out to correctly predict the positions of objects in the solar system. I note- the theory is therefore tested every year.

Newtonian gravitation is extraordinarily simple. It can be summed up in a single equation:
F = GMm/r²

Simple. Tested yearly. Not much place to hide there.

In the regime of the strong field, the difference between Newton and Einstein only makes 42 arcseconds of difference per century in Mercury's predicted position, which is accounted for by the difference between Newton and Einstein. This is less than 10% of the perturbation introduced by the other planets, and is one of the astronomical confirmations of GRT.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (7) Apr 14, 2017
As for "revolutions," Einstein made what's considered one, but it didn't overturn Newtonian mechanics. It just added minor correction factors for extreme situations.

Furthermore both @Hannes and @Solon are speculating in advance of the facts, and in contradiction to previous ones (see above on Einsteinian vs. Newtonian mechanics). If you have some sort of evidence to present do so. Speculation in advance of the facts is not evidence.
Da Schneib
4.5 / 5 (8) Apr 14, 2017
I will repeat @IMP-9's question: if your web site supposedly "revealing the truth" is peppered with images formed using the exact same algorithms presented as "evidence," how come using those algorithms for this project is somehow objectionable? EUdiots are logically inconsistent.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2017
Re: "@Hannes, you have an "other framework" than Newtonian gravity?"

Please take the time to do the math on the force between two typically adjacent stars. The calculation will show you that they are not gravitationally interacting with one another, and that at the interstellar scale, such a small force cannot overcome the strength of the ambient electromagnetic forces.

The Weakest Force - Gravity
https://plus.goog...yeVEv7Hc

The problem is the distance between stars is just far too large. Learn the Burnham model, which teaches laypeople just how large these distances are ...

The Burnham Model of Stellar Distances
https://plus.goog...eGFK52AK

We need a force which can bridge this gap. We discovered it in 1958 when we sent the first rockets to space. Everything up to that point was educated guesswork.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2017
Re: "if your web site supposedly "revealing the truth" is peppered with images formed using the exact same algorithms presented as 'evidence' ..."

The imaging developer for Event Horizon was very clear in her talk that bias is a serious concern with these algorithms. You guys might consider actually watching the talk and thinking about what she is saying.

"... If all images' types produce a very similar-looking image, then we can start to become more confident that the image assumptions we're making are not biasing this picture THAT MUCH ..."

"... When we get the same image from all different sets of puzzle pieces, then we can start to become more confident that the image assumptions we're making aren't biasing the final image we get TOO MUCH ..."
Zzzzzzzz
5 / 5 (5) Apr 14, 2017
Hmmm, they don't trust math, they don't trust technology, they don't trust theories, they don't trust simulations, they don't trust Einstein, they don't trust Newton, they don't trust Maxwell...

Methinks I discern a pattern here.

Only trust that which validates your delusion, or your fragile illusion of sanity crumbles quickly.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (7) Apr 14, 2017
Please take the time to do the math on the force between two typically adjacent stars. The calculation will show you that they are not gravitationally interacting with one another, and that at the interstellar scale, such a small force cannot overcome the strength of the ambient electromagnetic forces.
@Hannes, you're completely incorrect; you've forgotten multiple star systems. They orbit one another, dude.

EUdiots pull another boner.

Meanwhile,
The imaging developer for Event Horizon was very clear in her talk that bias is a serious concern with these algorithms.
Yep. That's why they're so careful about how they develop them! Duhhh ummm.

And yet another boner.

You should take your own advice and actually, you know, study up on stuff before you say idiotic things like this.

Meanwhile, if you don't know this stuff, how can you judge which pictures to put on your web site?

Duhhhh ummmmmm again.

This is like shooting fish in a barrel.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2017
@hannes/reeve eu pseudoscience cult socks
Please take the time to do the math on the force between two typically adjacent stars. The calculation will show you that they are not gravitationally interacting with one another....
ROTFLMFAO

IOW - you're saying there are no multi-star systems? you heard it here first folks! there are no such thing as binary star systems
see eu for details
The imaging developer for Event Horizon was very clear in her talk that bias is a serious concern with these algorithms
so... does this mean the eu is going to start building their own satellites and imaging systems?
you're using existing tech (and algorithms) to make your postdictions now

so why are you complaining about the above when you're using the exact same algorithms?
as IMP stated
The algorithms they will use for reconstruction will be the same ones used for other radio astronomy imaging
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2017
Re: "@Hannes, you're completely incorrect; you've forgotten multiple star systems. They orbit one another, dude."

You've focused on the semantics of "typically adjacent stars" so much that you've missed the point: Gravity is a weak localized force which at common interstellar distances, the math is quite clear, ceases to be a first-order phenomenon.

Re: "Yep. That's why they're so careful about how they develop them! Duhhh ummm."

Who is looking over their work? People pretty much like yourself that are convinced that black holes are a fact.

What are these "image assumptions" which are embedded into the algorithms? It will be important that people who DO NOT believe in black holes should also comment on them.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2017
Re: "you're saying there are no multi-star systems? you heard it here first folks! there are no such thing as binary star systems"

These are playground schoolyard tactics. We are adults here, Captain.
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (5) Apr 14, 2017
Since when did the meaning of peer review come to mean review by people who accept and ignore your assumptions? My intention is to now wait to see what these guys come up with, and if necessary take a close look at their algorithms. This should have been your approach as well, but it seems that people here would prefer to just take the scientists at their word, rather than engage in meaningful peer review.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2017
@hannes/reeve the eu cult socks
These are playground schoolyard tactics. We are adults here, Captain
1- if you're an adult, why can't you comprehend the logical fallacy of the comment you made?

2- suggesting that the only way to change science is by confusing the public with intentional misinformation, blatantly false claims, outright debunked and falsified beliefs... that is "playground schoolyard tactics"
That is also the only method you've used to date (all eu socks, people and believers included)

not once have you been able to provide empirical evidence in a peer reviewed study that is validated to support your eu claims
but it seems that people here would prefer to just take the scientists at their word, rather than engage in meaningful peer review
meaningful peer review would be presenting a set of algorithms, showing the cause and specifics of the flaw, then presenting possible corrections or suggestions

you've done none of that
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2017
@hannes/reeve the pseudoscience eu cult socks
You've focused on the semantics of "typically adjacent stars" so much that you've missed the point: Gravity is a weak localized force which at common interstellar distances, the math is quite clear, ceases to be a first-order phenomenon
funny thing: we know quite a bit about a lot of forces

included in that research is quite a bit of study about range

so, one thing that can be predicted is: range

one argument you and others have made in the past is the ineffectiveness of gravity, etc (you did it above)

yet we have repeatedly validated examples proving you wrong

this is evident whether you're talking D/1993 F2 or "adjacent stars"

so, where is your replacement for gravity in adjacent stars?
the EM force?
show the math

show the study that makes predictions that can be tested and validated

this is the problem with all your eu pseudoscience
postdiction is your only "tool" and usually yall screw that up
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2017
@Hannes, you said this:
The calculation will show you that they are not gravitationally interacting with one another, and that at the interstellar scale, such a small force cannot overcome the strength of the ambient electromagnetic forces.
Gravity falls off as the square of the distance. But it appears you've forgotten something really important: so does the EM force! Claiming that one stays strong over interstellar distances when the other doesn't is just silliness.

Here are the applicable equations:
F = GMm/r²
Where,
F is force
G is the gravitational constant
M and m are two masses
r is the distance

F = kQq/r²
Where
k is Coulomb's constant
Q and q are two charges

See how similar those equations are? See how they both fall off as the square of the distance? What the calculations show is, in fact, exactly the opposite of what you claim.
[contd]
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2017
[contd]
You'll find I've been posting the first equation all thread, and you can look that equation up here: https://en.wikipe...ern_form

You'll find the second listed as Coulomb's Law, here: https://en.wikipe...%27s_law

Them's the calculations. Now stop making stuff up.

Moving right along,
Who is looking over their work?
I don't think you quite understand peer review. Calculational errors are precisely what peer reviewers are looking for, and will point out.

Besides, you've completely ignored the fact that you yourselves are using images that were made using exactly the same algorithms. They're good enough when you use them; how come they're not good enough when we all do? Do you think there's some sort of super-special magic "non black hole math" or something? Silliness again.

C'mon, @Hannes, stop screwing around.

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