The Event Horizon Telescope is a collaboration of eight radio telescopes around the world, including the South Pole Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. The EHT has been able to produce images of supermassive black holes in distant galaxies. This new observation will be groundbreaking because it will show us what’s happening at the very center of our galaxy, something we’ve never been able to see before.” With the help of two new telescopes in Hawaii and Arizona, researchers are about to make a major revelation about the Milky Way’s hub.
The Event Horizon Telescope is an international collaboration of scientists from more than 20 countries, including the University of California, Berkeley. It is made up of eight linked radio telescopes: seven in California and one in Arizona. With the help of these two new telescopes in Hawaii and Arizona, researchers are about to make a major revelation about the Milky Way’s hub.
The scientists involved with this project led by UC Berkeley astronomer Shep Doeleman have been working for more than a decade and have been waiting for this moment since 2017 when they first saw evidence that their equipment could detect Sagittarius A*’s event horizon (the boundary beyond which nothing can escape). The next step was to refine their methods and get ready for this new phase where they hope to capture an image of our galaxy’s central black hole
What is a black hole? The universe’s dark, mysterious monsters
That makes it hard to say exactly what the groundbreaking result will be, my bet would be on the second-ever photo of a black hole and the first image of our home galaxy’s cosmic behemoth. After speaking to astronomers who are not associated with the EHT project, and scrolling through Twitter, it seems that almost everyone believes this will be an image of our galaxy’s dark heart.
And, if this isn’t another black hole image, then the radio telescopes have found something else that warrants such foreshadowing. The results will be presented during a press conference on May 12 at 6 a.m. PT (9 a.m. ET), and you can follow along. It will be live-streamed on the US National Science Foundation website, and CNET is sure to have coverage so you can follow along here. Just check back on Thursday.
Researchers have been studying the center of our galaxy for decades, knowing it contains a white dwarf star called S2 and a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*
The center of our galaxy is not just important to scientists, but also the public at large.
To help understand why this area, in particular, is so important, let’s take a brief look at how astronomers study objects within the Milky Way galaxy. In addition to using light-gathering telescopes that can reveal details on nearby planets or stars, scientists have been studying the center of our galaxy for decades. The reason? It contains a white dwarf star called S2 and a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*.
Scientists have already learned that the light surrounding S2 comes from Sagittarius A* when it consumes gas and dust, creating a clear view of the black hole
By studying the light surrounding S2, the researchers were able to determine that the black hole produces an enormous stream of matter that flows into it. They’ve already learned that the light surrounding S2 comes from Sagittarius A* when it consumes gas and dust, creating a clear view of the black hole. This finding was made possible by an instrument called VIRUS-P (VLT Imager and Spectrometer for mid-Infrared).
This provides an opportunity for scientists to learn more about black holes by observing their movement and behavior, according to the EHT
The EHT will provide new information about black holes, which are extremely dense objects with gravitational pulls so strong that even light cannot escape. Black holes are very difficult to study because they don’t emit any radiation and are invisible, making them impossible to observe directly. However, over the last few decades, scientists have been able to study their behavior through indirect observations of their surroundings. The EHT is a new tool for studying black holes and their effects on other celestial bodies.
This will be an entirely new test of general relativity,” Shep Doeleman, director of the EHT, said in a statement
Einstein’s theory of general relativity describes gravity as being a property of space and time. It dictates that matter warps space and time around it, causing objects to move towards each other like they’re connected by some invisible rubber band. As an example: If you drop a stone into water, it will sink because its weight pulls on the water around it bending the surrounding liquid surface down slightly so that gravity has no choice but to pull your object down.
When Albert Einstein first published his theory of general relativity nearly 100 years ago, he predicted that when light passes next to a strong gravitational field like a black hole, it would bend
When Albert Einstein first published his theory of general relativity nearly 100 years ago, he predicted that when light passes next to a strong gravitational field like a black hole, it would bend. This phenomenon is known as “gravitational lensing.”
In 1919, Sir Arthur Eddington established the first confirmed observation of this effect by capturing pictures of stars that had been warped by the mass of our sun during a total solar eclipse.
However, until recently scientists have not been able to test Einstein’s theory for objects much larger than Earth or even our sun. The reason for this is that these very large masses create such huge gravitational fields around themselves that they are too far away for us to observe any bending effects directly with our telescopes here on Earth.
For example, recent observations have shown that if we look at objects behind the Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole (somewhat similar in mass) we should see subtle distortions in their shapes due to gravitational lensing effects caused by both the Milky Way and its central black hole together!
This has been tested before, but scientists need high-quality images to do so accurately
This has been tested before, but scientists need high-quality images to do so accurately. Einstein said the light would bend around a black hole, causing the disk of hot gas swirling around it to appear warped and stretched. This is called gravitational lensing and can be seen by looking at an object through a corner of a glass window. The effect is similar to what happens when you look at an object through two mirrors that are parallel but facing each other (which creates an infinite number of reflections).
But for scientists to confirm their findings, they still need more data. They will use NASA’s NuSTAR telescope designed specifically for studying X-rays emitted from black holes to collect new measurements over the next three years.
The Event Horizon Telescope is making new observations that could prove Einstein right or wrong
As you may have heard, there’s a lot of excitement around the Event Horizon Telescope project, and for good reason. The EHT is working to gather data on the event horizon of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), at the center of our galaxy, which will be used to test general relativity. If it succeeds, this would be an immensely significant result in physics and astronomy alike.
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