EHT Team Panel: In the Shadow of the Black Hole

Thursday, May 9, 2019

 

This Thursday afternoon (May 9, 4pm in LGRT 1033), a special guest panel from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) team will present the first picture of a black hole in a series of short talks followed by Q&A. Panelists include: Lindy Blackburn (CFA), Dominic Pesce (CfA), and Sara Issaoun from (Radboud U). The panel will be hosted by Gopal Narayanan (UMass Amherst).

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration recently released the first image that resolves the event horizon of a supermassive black hole — the 6.5 billion solar mass object at the center of the galaxy M87.  That image, which spans nominally 100 micro-arcseconds of the sky, is the distilled product of an observation campaign that collected approximately five petabytes of data over four evenings in 2017.  The process for recording, correlating, calibrating, and utilizing data has been built-out by the EHT over the last ten years.  In this talk, we will outline those steps and describe the instrumentation used to make the recordings.  We will summarize how the data are calibrated and explain some of the challenges that arise with a heterogenous telescope array like the EHT.  Finally, we will present future plans for continuing to improve the EHT instrument to study supermassive black holes in increasing detail.