Black hole imaging with the Event Horizon Telescope

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 11:15 am - 11:15 am EDT (GMT -04:00)

Astronomy Seminar Series

Lindy Blackburn, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration released the first image of black hole in April of this year, opening the field of horizon-scale study of the spacetime and environments around black holes via direct imaging. The radio image, taken at a wavelength of 1.3 mm (230 GHz) and using the technique of very-long-baseline interferometry, matches that of lensed photons from relativistic magnetized plasma surrounding a 6.5 billion solar mass black hole at the center of M87. I will introduce the EHT instrument and first results, highlighting the challenges in processing, calibrating, and fitting images and models to the originally petabytes of data from the heterogeneous EHT array. I will also discuss next steps for the EHT, including plans for higher fidelity imaging and movie-making with the addition of antennas on the ground and in space.

Lindy Blackburn is a Radio Astronomer and EHT Data Scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He works on data statistics and calibration for the Event Horizon Telescope, toward the goal of obtaining high-resolution images of supermassive black holes. Lindy obtained a PhD in physics from MIT while working on the LIGO experiment, and was a NASA postdoctoral program fellow at Goddard Space Flight Center, working on searches for high-energy counterparts to gravitational-wave detections with the Fermi telescope. He has a general interest in black-holes, experimental general relativity, and the application of statistical methods and modeling for precision measurement.