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Home / Science / Photos with black holes could become even clearer with space telescopes

Photos with black holes could become even clearer with space telescopes



The first photo of a black hole inspired people all over the world. Now astronomers want to take even sharper pictures of these enigmatic structures by sending radio telescopes into space.

The historical photo was released on April 10, when the worldwide research collaboration Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) unveiled the blurry yet incredible photo of the supermassive black hole in the center of the Messier 87 galaxy. [19659002] Astronomers at Radboud University in the Netherlands have recently shared their plans to collaborate with the European Space Agency (ESA) and others. To get a better look at black holes, place two to three satellites in a circular orbit around the Earth. The concept is called Event Horizon Imager (EHI).

Related: The future of black hole photography: what's next for the event Horizon Telescope

The resolution of a radio image is limited by the size of the telescope that receives the signal For this reason, EHT has used a worldwide network of spotting telescopes to transform the Earth essentially into a virtual telescope on planetary size. By increasing the distances between the radio observations, astronomers could one day offer the public a clearer and more detailed view of a black hole, say researchers in a statement from Radboud University.

"There are many advantages to using satellites instead of permanent radio telescopes on Earth, such as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)," said Freek Roelofs, a researcher at Radboud University and principal author of an article describing this potential project

The Event Horizon Telescope, an assembly of eight ground-based planetary-scale radio telescopes forged through international collaboration, has captured this image of the supermassive black hole and its shadow, which is at the center of the M87 galaxy.

(Photo: © EHT Collaboration )

"In space you can observe at higher altitudes Radio frequencies, because the frequencies from Earth are filtered out of the atmosphere, "added Roelofs. "The distances between the telescopes in space are also larger, which allows us to take a big step forward and take pictures at more than five times the resolution possible with the EHT."

A sharper look would offer more than just aesthetics. According to the statement, images from EHI could be used to test Einstein's Theory of General Theory of Relativity in more detail because "you can take near perfect pictures to see the true details of black holes," Heino Falcke, radio astronomer at Radboud University and co-author of the new work, said in the statement. "If small deviations from Einstein's theory occur, we should be able to see them."

EHI would initially work separately from EHT, but a hybrid system combining space observations with ground-based ones might be possible. 1

9659002] The plans are detailed in an upcoming article in the scientific journal Astronomy & Astrophysics

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