University of Waterloo
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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.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office.