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Thread: Event Horizon telescope

  1. #1
    Join Date
    10-23-01
    Posts
    16,000

    Event Horizon telescope

    Dunno if anyone is watching this project, but I got interested after trying to wrap my head around General Relativity (and failed).

    This project is a collaborative venture involving 11 telescopes around the world, working together to form what is essentially a single planet-sized telescope. Einstein predicted the existence of black holes, objects with no volume but with such mass that that their gravitational pull becomes huge and nothing, not even light, escapes. The event horizon is the boundary of the black hole, where once you cross, you cannot escape. Light itself cannot escape the event horizon, hence the term "black hole".

    Einstein predicted these objects but was really unhappy about it - the thought of them made him queasy. Scientists have in the past seen phenomena and concluded that a black hole must be nearby to cause whatever is happening but there was never any direct evidence, until 2019. In 2019, we got our first picture of a black hole. The Event Horizon telescope made that possible. This week, we saw another one, the black hole that was theorized to be at the center of our galaxy. Yep, it was there.

    A high school classmate of mine was involved in this project. He was the former Commander of the Antarctic Joint Task Force, the military guy overseeing everything that happens at the South Pole, including the South Pole telescope. The telescope itself is run by the University of Chicago but he was in overall charge of everything at the South Pole. He now works for the National Science Foundation. You may have already been acquainted with his work, though.

    In 2015, he developed a method of resupplying the Antarctic base in winter. Big deal? Yeah, because in the winter, there is no light but storms are raging - nearly 200 mph wind, with temps at about -130 F. It was thought to be impossible but he figured it out. Just in time - the next year, two winter-over University of Chicago contractors were at the South Pole telescope and one became critically ill. They had to be gotten out. My classmate put together an international rescue mission, with Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and the US participating to fly out the contractors in the middle of winter, saving the contractor's life. National Geographic ran a story on it.

    So I thought I'd brag on him a bit. This past week, he was given an award from our alma mater high school for graduates that have distinguished themselves. I was honored to give a speech introducing him and believe me, saving lives and getting pictures of black holes is not the end of his accomplishments. He was pretty spectacular during the war in Iraq as well. These days, he is a consultant for manned missions to Mars for NASA, utilizing some of the lessons he learned in some of earth's harshest environments.

    Anyhoo, when you read about the Event Horizon Telescope, now you have a connection to the coolest science going.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    10-22-01
    Location
    All Over
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    33,793
    Very interesting Kevin---black hole theory is something that I have read about and studied extensively. Possibly, the most alarming thing about it is that I am beginning to believe I sit on the cusp of understanding it.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” ---Sir Winston Churchill
    "Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all." ---John W. Gardner
    “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ---C. S. Lewis

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