Galactic Central Sun: MIT Leads Earth-Wide Effort to Capture the First Picture of Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole

Editor Note: There sure seems to be quite an effort going on these days to figure out what’s going on in Sgr A* (aka the Galactic Central Sun). It would seem the elite are getting awfully nervous about the Galactic Superwave / Solar Flash!  It’s curious that the telescope is called “THE EVENT Horizon”. LMAO 😉 See more links at the end for reference.

MIT Leads Earth-Wide Effort to Capture the First Picture of Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole

By The Daily Galaxy

Through an international effort led by MIT Haystack Observatory, the ALMA array in Chile has joined a global network of radio telescopes. A powerful new array of radio telescopes is being deployed for the first time this week, as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile joins a global network of antennas poised to make some of the highest resolution images that astronomers have ever obtained. The improved level of detail is equivalent to being able to count the stitches on a baseball from 8,000 miles away.

Scientists at MIT and other institutions are using a method called VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) to link a group of radio telescopes spread across the globe into what is, in effect, a telescope the size of our planet. Although the technique of VLBI is not new, scientists have just recently begun extending it to millimeter wavelengths to achieve a further boost in resolving power. And now, the addition of ALMA to global VLBI arrays is providing an unprecedented leap in VLBI capabilities.The inclusion of ALMA was recently made possible through the ALMA Phasing Project (APP), an international effort led by the MIT Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts, and principal investigator Sheperd Doeleman, now at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

170331a_en

Before this project, the ALMA dishes worked with each other to make observations as a single array; now, the APP has achieved the synchronizing, or “phasing,” of up to 61 ALMA antennas to function as a single, highly sensitive radio antenna — the most antennas ever phased together. To achieve this, the APP team developed custom software and installed several new hardware components at ALMA, including a hydrogen maser (a type of ultraprecise atomic clock), a set of very-high-speed data reformatters, and a fiber optic system for transporting an 8 gigabyte-per-second data stream to four ultrafast data recorders (the Haystack-designed Mark6).

The culmination of these efforts is an order-of-magnitude increase in the sensitivity of the world’s millimeter VLBI networks, and a dramatic boost in their ability to create detailed images of sources that previously appeared as mere points of light.

“A great many people have worked very hard over the past several years to make this dream a reality,” says Geoff Crew, software lead for the APP. “ALMA VLBI is truly going to be transformative for our science.”

One of the goals of these new technological innovations is to image a black hole. This month, two international organizations are making observations that will allow scientists to construct such an image for the very first time. And the portrait they’re attempting to capture is close to home: Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

So much data will be collected during the two observation periods that it’s faster to fly them to Haystack than it would be to transmit them electronically. Petabytes of data will be flown from telescopes around the world to Haystack for correlation and processing before images of the black hole can be created. Correlation, which registers the data from all participating telescopes to account for the different arrival times of the radio waves at each site, is done using a specialized bank of powerful computers. MIT Haystack is one of the few radio science facilities worldwide with the necessary technology and expertise to correlate this amount of data. Additional correlation for these sessions is being done at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany.

Two observing sessions are taking place. The GMVA (Global mm-VLBI Array) session will observe a variety of sources at a wavelength of 3 millimeters, including Sgr A* and other active galactic nuclei, and the EHT (Event Horizon Telescope) session will observe Sgr A* as well as the supermassive black hole at the center of a nearby galaxy, M87, at a wavelength of 1.3 millimeters. The EHT team includes researchers from MIT’s Haystack Observatory and MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), working with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and many other organizations.

“Several factors make 1.3 mm the ideal observing wavelength for Sgr A*,” according to APP Project Scientist Vincent Fish. “At longer observing wavelengths, the source would be blurred by free electrons between us and the galactic center, and we wouldn’t have enough resolution to see the predicted black hole shadow. At shorter wavelengths, the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs most of the signal.”

The current observations are the first in a series of groundbreaking studies in VLBI and radio interferometry that will enable dramatic new scientific discoveries. Data from the newly phased ALMA array will also allow better imaging of other distant radio sources via improved data sampling, increased angular resolution, and eventually spectral-line VLBI — observations of emissions from specific elements and molecules.

“Phasing ALMA has opened whole new possibilities for ultra high-resolution science that will go far beyond the study of black holes,” says Lynn Matthews, commissioning scientist for the APP. “For example, we expect to be able to make movies of the gas motions around stars that are still in the process of forming and map the outflows that occur from dying stars, both at a level of detail that has never been possible before.”

The black hole images from the data gathered this month will take months to prepare; researchers expect to publish the first results in 2018.

The Daily Galaxy via MIT

Image at the top of the page: artist’s concept of the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way. Illustration via David A. Aguilar (CfA)

This article (MIT Leads Earth-Wide Effort to Capture the First Picture of Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole) was originally published on The Daily Galaxy  and syndicated by The Event Chronicle

Related:

Cosmic Disclosure: The Great Solar Flash
Dutchsinse May Have Scientifically Documented First Massive Galactic Energy Wave to Hit Earth
Cosmic Rays Evolve Consciousness & Transform DNA
Dr. Paul LaViolette — Will a Superwave Arrive in 2017?
Recent Waves of Energy Reported by Dutchsinse May Prove to be Tied to the Maharishi Effect
James Gilliland: First Documented Validation of Large Wave of Energy Hitting Earth Now
Large Wave of Energy from Unknown Source Hitting Earth Now
Massive Burst of 7th Dimensional Transformational Gamma Rays are Expected to Arrive by December 26th
Dr. Paul LaViolette — Will a Superwave Arrive in 2017?
Galactic Core Fission Event in Edge-On Disc Galaxy J1126+2944
70 Year Old Prophecy : The Earth Will Soon Be Swept By Extraordinary Rapid Waves of Cosmic Electricity
The Day of The Event: A New Star is Born — An Exploration of Possibility for a Long-Awaited Moment
God Particles from the Galactic Core
Cobra: Galactic Wave of Love
How to Prepare for The Event
The Event: A Plan to Maintain the Safety and Well-Being of the Populace During the Financial Reset & Mass Arrests
Scientists Identify Cosmic Energy Accelerator at the Galactic Center
Scientists believe there are intelligent alien civilizations near the “Galactic Center”
Galactic Center
Earth’s Super-Powered Telescopes Attempt to Capture the First-Ever Image of the Massive Dark Void at the Center of the Milky Way
4 Tips to Stay Centered During the Galactic Waves
A Galactic Wave of Divine Light is Approaching Us
Scientists have detected an unusual celestial object in a bulge at the center of the Milky Way
Astronomers Have Discovered Mysterious Ancient Stars Near the Center of Our Galaxy
A source accelerating Galactic cosmic rays to unprecedented energy discovered at the centre of the Milky Way
Astronomers Report ‘Intergalactic Force’ Moving Milky Way Inward
Large Wave of Energy from Unknown Source Hitting Earth Now
Recent Waves of Energy Reported by Dutchsinse May Prove to be Tied to the Maharishi Effect
James Gilliland: First Documented Validation of Large Wave of Energy Hitting Earth Now
Asymmetric structure in the supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center
Scientists Identify Cosmic Energy Accelerator at the Galactic Center
A source accelerating Galactic cosmic rays to unprecedented energy discovered at the centre of the Milky Way
Milky Way’s Monster Black Hole Unleashes Record-Breaking X-Ray Flare
Milky Way’s Black Hole May Be Neutrino Factory
Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole Spews Out Millions of Star Fragments — “Large as Jupiter and Neptune”
Supermassive Black Holes in Distant Galaxies are Mysteriously Aligned
Discovery of a Supermassive Black Hole Doesn’t Fit Current Model
Supermassive black holes could be part of an interstellar cosmic web
Super Massive Black Holes May be Inhabited by Super-Advanced Aliens
Revolutionary: According to scientists every blackhole could contain ANOTHER universe
Puzzling Corona Caused Black Hole Flare
Black hole at Milky Way center may be emitting mysterious neutrinos, NASA says
Black hole in distant galaxy sets off huge space explosions, say astronomers
Cosmic Particle Accelerator Discovered — “Largest and Most Powerful in the Universe”

Comments are closed.