Event Horizon Telescope: Astronomers Attempt To Capture The First-ever Image of A Black Hole [VIDEO]By Anne Collins, UniversityHerald Reporter
Astronomers have begun a campaign to capture the first-ever image of a black hole. They plan to use a massive international array of the most powerful radio telescopes around the world. The massive black hole is at the center of the Milky Way, a behemoth called Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), which is 4 million times more massive than the sun.
Researchers hope to take a picture of Sgr A*'s event horizon, which is what they call "the point of no return." It is a place beyond where nothing, not even light, can escape. The black hole's interior can never be imaged because light cannot make it out.
Copal Narayanan, astronomy research professor from the University of Massachusetts Amherst said that these observations will help sort through all the many wild theories about black holes. Data from this project will help understand things about black holes that have never been understood before, Seeker reported.
Tech Crunch reported that the project is known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which links observatories in Hawaii (James Clerk Maxwell Telescope), Arizona, California, Mexico, Chile (Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment), Spain and Antarctica (South Pole Telescope). It will run from April 5 through April 14.
The observatories will create the equivalent of a radio instrument the size of the entire Earth. EHT team members said that the powerful tool is necessary to view the event horizon of Sgr A* because it lies 26,000 light-years from Earth. Narayanan said the process is like trying to image a grapefruit on the surface of the moon.
It may take a while for the astronomers to piece together the images. So much information will be collected by the participating telescopes around the world. The images will be physically flown, rather than transmitted, to the central processing facility at the Haystack Observatory at Massachusetts Institue of Technology.
The data will then have to be calibrated to account for different weather, atmospheric and other conditions from these various sites. EHT team members said the first results from the campaign will likely be published next year.