UMass to unite in global efforts to explore black hole at the center of our galaxy

07 April 2017, 08:21 AM
Representational image (Source: PTI)
Representational image (Source: PTI)

Astronomers from University of Massachusetts Amherst are going to join researchers around the globe this week to create what could be said one of history’s most divulging looks at a black hole.

The university is going to train their telescopes at the center of the Milky Way in Mexico in collaboration with seven telescopes in Hawaii, Arizona, Chile, Spain, and at the South Pole to create the effect of an Earth-sized device powerful enough to see the center of our galaxy, which is 26,000 light years away.

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The main aim is to examine the thin edge, or event horizon, of the black hole, which has a mass 4 million times that of the sun. Such an extreme environment could provide an opportunity to gather data to evaluate theoretical concepts including Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Research professor Gopal Narayanan of UMass Amherst said “These are the observations that will help us to sort through all the wild theories about black holes. And there are many wild theories".

“With data from this project, we will understand things about black holes that we have never understood before.”
UMass, which will be the Large Millimeter Telescope with Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, said the technique in the study has been applied before, but this is the first time it has been carried out on such a large scale. The observations began on Wednesday and will conclude by April 15.

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“Using Earth’s rotation and aiming each telescope at the same object, over the course of many hours their sampled curves, combined, resemble the observational effect of one large instrument,” the university said in a news release.

First Published: Friday, April 07, 2017 08:09 AM
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