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Event Horizon Telescope Will Begin The Most Detailed Observation Of A Blackhole In April

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The Event Horizon Telescope is set to begin operations in April with the goal of producing the most detailed look of a black hole to date.

Sagittarius A, known as the A-Star, will be the subject of the study. It’s a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The feat will link the power of nine radio telescopes to act as a single planet sized telescope. The A-Star weighs in at 4 million suns, is 44 million kilometers in diameter, and is 26,000 light years from Earth.

“There’s great excitement. We’ve been fashioning our virtual telescope for almost two decades now, and in April we’re going to make the observations that we think have the first real chance of bringing a black hole’s event horizon into focus.”

– Sheperd Doeleman, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, BBC News

The observation will take place during the dates of April 5th, and April 14th which should provide a direct view of the edge of a black hole, the event horizon. It’s wholly unclear what this will look like, as black holes can’t be seen directly. Instead, scientists will be looking at the event horizon the visible region that separates  the black hole from the cosmos.

Simulations of what the event horizon should look like. (From the EHT Team)

The telescopes in the study will act together as one and link up to produce one single high-resolution image. The telescopes are located across the globe in the US, Spain, Chile, and the South Pole.

“Now, it could be that we will see something different. As I’ve said before, it’s never a good idea to bet against Einstein, but if we did see something that was very different from what we expect we would have to reassess the theory of gravity. I don’t expect that is going to happen, but anything could happen and that’s the beauty of it.”

– Sheperd Doeleman, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, BBC News

The general consensus (based on physical models) is that we should see light fringing around the event horizon, but the reality remains wholly uncertain until these images have been produced.

 

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