From ALMA: “Attempting the Impossible: Taking the First Picture of a Black Hole”

ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres
ALMA

31 March 2017
Nicolás Lira T.
Press Coordinator
Joint ALMA Observatory
Santiago, Chile
Tel: +56 2 24 67 65 19
Cell: +56 9 94 45 77 26
Email: nicolas.lira@alma.cl

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) joins for the first time the Global mm-VLBI Array (GMVA) and the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), Earth-sized virtual observatories, which are made possible by an international collaboration of radio telescopes. One of the main drivers of this global collaboration is to study in detail the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way. The GMVA will derive the properties of the accretion and outflow in the immediate surroundings of the Galactic Center, while the EHT will aim at imaging, for the very first time, the shadow of the black hole’s event horizon.

The impressive line-up of participating telescopes stretch across the globe, from the South Pole to Europe to Hawaii, and, of course, Chile. ALMA with its 66 antennas, state-of-the-art receivers, its excellent site and southern location make it the largest and most sensitive, as well as a strategic component of both the GMVA and EHT. The observations will be done with the GMVA from April 1 to April 4, 2017, and with the EHT from April 5 to April 14, 2017.

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This infographic details the locations of the participating telescopes of the Global mm-VLBI Array (GMVA), and the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT). Their goal is to image, for the very first time, the shadow of the event horizon of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, as well as to study the properties of the accretion and outflow around the Galactic Centre. Crédito: ESO/O. Furtak

The outcome of these observations is eagerly awaited by the community as its scientific potential is incredibly exciting. To help understand better these forthcoming observations, ALMA and its partners have launched a blog series to explain what the GMVA and EHT projects are and the science behind them. The series will take you along an astronomical journey, providing insight into how cutting-edge research is done, describe the associated risks, and provide answers to questions such as: How do radiotelescopes see the Universe? Why are black holes so interesting? What do we know about the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way?

The first installment explains the GMVA and EHT projects in more detail and what they may see. You can read it here.

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ESO – ALMA and GMVA Observations in Cycle 4

See the full article here .

Event Horizon Telescope Array

Event Horizon Telescope map

The locations of the radio dishes that will be part of the Event Horizon Telescope array. Image credit: Event Horizon Telescope sites, via University of Arizona at https://www.as.arizona.edu/event-horizon-telescope.

Arizona Radio Observatory
Arizona Radio Observatory/Submillimeter-wave Astronomy (ARO/SMT)

ESO/APEX
Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX)

CARMA Array no longer in service
Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA)

Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)
Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)

Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO)

IRAM NOEMA interferometer
Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique (IRAM) 30m

James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano
Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano

CfA Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO
Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO

Future Array/Telescopes

ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array, Chile

Plateau de Bure interferometer
Plateau de Bure interferometer

South Pole Telescope SPTPOL
South Pole Telescope SPTPOL

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The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan.

ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by ESO, on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which is managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

NRAO Small
ESO 50 Large
NAOJ

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