Taiwan-U.S. telescope joins campaign to capture black hole images

05/29/2018 10:39 PM
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Photo courtesy of Chen Ming-tang
Photo courtesy of Chen Ming-tang

Taipei, May 29 (CNA) The Greenland Telescope, a joint development project between Taiwan's Academia Sinica and the U.S.'s Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), has officially joined the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observing campaign to produce the first image of a supermassive black hole.

Academia Sinica's Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) announced during a press conference Tuesday that the global array of linked radio dishes, which as of mid-April includes the Greenland Telescope, work together to observe and capture images of a supermassive black hole and should be able to do so within the next one to two years.

Chen, who is a research fellow and manager of the project at Academia Sinica's Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA), said the telescope's eponymous location in Greenland with its dry and cool temperature makes it extremely suitable for astronomical observations.

It is also the northernmost radio dish in the EHT, allowing for triangulation with the Submillimeter Array in Hawaii, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile and other dishes, he continued.

Sheperd Doeleman of the (CfA) and leader of the EHT project was quoted by the Space Daily, a news website dedicated to space and astronomy, as saying "the EHT essentially turns the entire globe into one giant radio telescope, and the farther apart radio dishes in the array are, the sharper the images the EHT can make."

The addition of the Greenland Telescope extends the north-south baseline to roughly 10,000 kilometers, making the resolution 1,000 times better than the strongest optical telescope in the world, according to Paul Ho, a distinguished research fellow at ASIAA.

(By Kuan-lin Liu, Chen Ching-fang and Wei Ke-chi)


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