After publishing the first photo of a black hole, the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration will continue their groundbreaking work. Their team of researchers, including Gopal Narayanan, astronomy, received a $12.7M grant to further their research and improve the technology for photographing –and hopefully filming – black holes.
From “Event Horizon Telescope Design Program Announced”
The National Science Foundation announced the award of a $12.7M grant to architect and design a next-generation Event Horizon Telescope (ngEHT) to carry out a program of transformative black hole science. Led by Principal Investigator Shep Doeleman at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA), the new ngEHT award will fund design and prototyping efforts by researchers at several US institutes, including Dr. Gopal Narayananat University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
On April 10th, 2019, the International Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration released the first image of a supermassive black hole, known as M87, that has the mass of 6.5 billion Suns. For this work, the EHT Collaboration received the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in November. Black holes, objects with gravity so strong that light cannot escape, are now accessible to direct imaging.
The ngEHT will sharpen the focus on black holes, and let researchers move from still-imagery to real-time videos of space-time at the event horizon. "As with all great discoveries, the first black hole image was just the beginning," says Doeleman. “Imagine being able to see a black hole evolve before your eyes. The ngEHT will give us front-row seats to one of the universe's most spectacular shows."
Doeleman is optimistic about the prospects of new discoveries with the ngEHT. "A decade ago we predicted we would be able to see a black hole. Now we estimate that over a billion people have seen the first image. Through the ngEHT we are setting our sights high again, aiming to bring humanity even closer to the event horizon."
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