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How to take a picture of a black hole | Katie Bouman

At the heart of the Milky Way, there’s a supermassive black hole that feeds off a spinning disk of hot gas, sucking up anything that ventures too close — even light. We can’t see it, but its event horizon casts a shadow, and an image of that shadow could help answer some important questions about the universe. Scientists used to think that making such an image would require a telescope the size of Earth — until Katie Bouman and a team of astronomers came up with a clever alternative. Learn more about how we can see in the ultimate dark.

The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

More in TED Talks (FREE)

  • Why journalists have an obligation to challenge power (with English subtitles) | Jorge Ramos

    (Full English subtitles are available for this talk — click the CC button in the bottom right of your screen to turn subtitles on.) You can kick Jorge Ramos out of your press conference (as Donald Trump infamously did in 2015), but you can never silence him. A reporter for more than 30 years, Ramos

    CONKJuly 28, 2017
  • How we can face the future without fear, together | Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

    It’s a fateful moment in history. We’ve seen divisive elections, divided societies and the growth of extremism — all fueled by anxiety and uncertainty. “Is there something we can do, each of us, to be able to face the future without fear?” asks Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. In this electrifying talk, the spiritual leader gives

    CONKJuly 27, 2017
  • Don’t feel sorry for refugees — believe in them | Luma Mufleh

    “We have seen advances in every aspect of our lives — except our humanity,” says Luma Mufleh, a Jordanian immigrant and Muslim of Syrian descent who founded the first accredited school for refugees in the United States. Mufleh shares stories of hope and resilience, explaining how she’s helping young people from war-torn countries navigate the

    CONKJuly 26, 2017