Earth and Space

The virtual telescope

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

In 2017, scientists used a giant virtual telescope to create the first image of the black hole at the centre of our galaxy. They created the image by combining data from eight radio telescopes around the world, acting together as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a virtual telescope that has the equivalent gathering power of a telescope the size of the Earth. The EHT’s power is analogous to an optical telescope that would allow the reading of a newspaper on the Moon from the Earth. The black hole appears as a shadow against the thermal radiation of dust and gas that is being attracted by its intense gravitational field.

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