The Event Horizon Telescope

The non amateur stuff. Hawking, black holes, that sort of thing

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brian livesey
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Location: Lancashire

The Event Horizon Telescope

Post by brian livesey »

Will they or won't they? From April 5th to the 14th, a collaboration of nine astronomy stations will combine their telescopes to a degree of resolution that would detect a grape on the Moon, in expectation of seeing a black hole event horizon for the first time.
The current evidence for black holes is strong, but it's still circumstantial evidence. Black holes were first postulated by English cleric John Michell in 1783 in a letter to the Royal Society, and several years later by the French mathematician Laplace. It was Karl Schwarzchild in 1915 who predicted black holes mathematically, as a consequence of certain equations in Einstein's theory of general relativity.
By connecting a global array of radio telescopes to form the equivalent of an Earth-sized "virtual" telescope, astrophysicists will look into the heart of Sagittarius A*, our galaxy's central black hole with a mass 4 million times that of the Sun. It's already known that a disc of gas and dust orbits the black hole, but the tell-tale signature the researchers hope to see with the Event Horizon Telescope is a bright crescent shape. It's possible that they might observe the shadow of the black hole's event horizon against a background of brightly swirling material.
The inclusion of the Atacama Large Millimetre Array in Chile and the South Pole Telescope will give the network a considerable boost in power:
"It may even be possible to image the black holes at the centre of nearby galaxies," said Professor Carol Mundell, head of physics at Bath University, " such as the giant elliptical galaxy that lies at the heart of our local cluster of galaxies."
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