EHT Radio Astronomy Newsroom

How a telescope made mostly of nothing became astronomy’s ‘killer app’

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    Credit: EHT Collaboration

    Astronomers have captured the first direct visual evidence of a black hole : an image of the supermassive black hole at the center of Messier 87 (M87), a giant elliptical galaxy 55 million light-years from Earth. This unprecedented observation was made possible by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), an array of eight individual radio telescopes spread over four continents and linked together to form a new, exceptionally powerful telescope. The newly released image reveals a glowing ring-like structure with a dark central region — a feature known as the “shadow” of a black hole

Newswise — The first direct visual evidence of a black hole will help scientists understand how the universe behaves under conditions of extreme gravity, forces so strong that they warp the fabric of space and time. This is just the latest step in a journey that began nearly 50 years ago with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (NRAO) Green Bank Interferometer: the first telescope to identify and locate the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a turbo-powered version of that pioneering telescope.

Additional background, graphics, and animations on this discovery, including the contributions of radio astronomy to the understanding of black holes, can be found here:


Topics include:

* The Event Horizon of a Black Hole: A “Grand Challenge” of Astronomy

* Interferometers: Telescopes Made Mostly of Nothing

* One Pair, Two Pairs, Any Pair to Many Pairs: Building an Array

* Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way Launches Radio Astronomy

* VLBI: Timing Is Key

* VLA Shows Power of Supermassive Black Hole in M87

* NSF’s VLBA: Essential to Studies of Supermassive Black Holes

* Adding ALMA to the EHT

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