University of Pretoria astrophysicist, Professor Roger Deane, was part of an international group of scientists who made history by capturing the first ever image of a black hole.
Deane and his team from the university had the task of developing simulations from the “Earth-sized” telescope used to make the historic discovery.
These simulations mimic the data coming from the real instrument, which is made up of a number antennae across the globe, mimicking the imagery to help scientists get a better picture of what they are looking at.
According to the university, Deane started working with the team on the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which captured the image revealed to the world on Wednesday.
Deane was in Brussels for the announcement. In a Skype interview, he told journalists that simulating the entire instrument produced an image of what the black hole should look like.
Deane explained that the image was only the beginning of their investigation, but that he was still blown away by the actualisation of the image, which is a start to confirming Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.
“I’m just proud and honoured to play my small part in this amazing international team.”
Deane’s group will now focus on expanding their simulations to model a case in which light from the black hole may have preferred orientation, performing detailed simulations on new prospective sites, and exploring a range of probabilistic modelling techniques to extract the properties of the black hole shadow.
This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5bn times that of the sun.