Event Calendar

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Tue, Oct 1, 2019

Gopal Narayanan, UMass: “The Event Horizon Telescope: The Story Behind the First Image of a Super-Massive Black Hole”

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) array composed of radio telescopes operating around the world and operating at short millimeter wavelengths. This globe-spanning telescope can resolve the event horizons of the nearest super-massive black holes. At millimeter wavelengths, the photons that originate from deep within the gravitational well of the black hole can travel unimpeded and be detectable by the EHT.

In April 2017, the EHT performed observations of two super-massive black holes, SgrA* and M87*, using eight telescopes around the world. And on April 10, 2019, 100 years after Sir Arthur Eddington famously provided observational proof of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, the EHT collaboration presented the first images of the shadow and event horizon of the super-massive black hole in M87.

In this talk, I will recount the story of this remarkable scientific advance, the novel instrumentation that enables EHT science, and the role that UMass and the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) played in this effort. I will also chart out the next steps for this project.