UM touts contribution to historic black hole imaging

The first ever photo a black hole, taken using a global network of telescopes is shown in this handout photo released April 10, 2019. — Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)/National Science Foundation/Handout via Reuters
The first ever photo a black hole, taken using a global network of telescopes is shown in this handout photo released April 10, 2019. — Event Horizon Telescope (EHT)/National Science Foundation/Handout via Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Universiti Malaya said it played a role in the groundbreaking discovery that allowed the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project to physically record the image of a black hole in space.

The university pointed out its participation in the East Asian Observatory (EAO) that partnered with the EHT, which released yesterday the hitherto unseen image of a black hole.

Imaging of black holes had not previously been possible as their immense gravitational pull stopped any light from escaping, preventing conventional photography.

However, researchers with the EHT developed an algorithm that allowed the team to capture the image of a black hole in the Messier 87 galaxy of the nearby Virgo cluster.

“This will definitely boost the role of Malaysian astronomy, which so far counts with the UPSI-UM 7-meter Radio Telescope in Tanjung Malim, Perak,” Zamri Zainal Abidin, investigator and Head of the Radio Cosmology Laboratory from UM’s Department of Physics, said.

Other countries that are also part of the EAO include China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, India, and Indonesia.

The EHT is an array of terrestrial telescopes spread across the world and synchronised with atomic clocks.

The global science community is heralding the first-ever image of a black hole as another critical piece in support of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity that seeks to explain gravity and its effect on nature.

Related Articles