Summer School 2021

Imaging black holes with an Earth-sized telescope


Professor Roger Deane, University of Witwatersrand and University of Pretoria

On 10 April 2019 the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration revealed the first image of a black hole. This required an international effort by more than two hundred scientists spread across five continents. By using antennas with separations on inter-continental scales, and observing a wavelength of light of 1 mm, the team was able to achieve an effective angular resolution of ~20 micro-arcseconds. This sharp imaging capability enabled the first spatially-resolved image of a black hole shadow. Apart from providing visual confirmation of the existence of black holes, the size and shape of the shadow feature could in future provide a stringent test of Einsteins General Theory of Relativity in the strong-field regime. This lecture will provide an overview of the instrument and the key scientific results and look to the future of this exciting field.


This lecture will be offered on the Microsoft Teams platform. Participants will be sent a link.


Recommended reading

Thorne, K. 1995. Black holes and Time Warps. New York: WW Norton & Co. 

Thorne, K. 2018. The Science of Interstellar. New York: WW Norton & Co. 

Overbye, D. 2019. Darkness Visible, Finally: Astronomers Capture First Ever Image of a Black Hole. New York: New York Times.

The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. 2019. First M87 Event Horizon Telescope results. I. The shadow of the supermassive black hole. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, IOP Publishing, Volume 875, Issue 1, L1.


Date: Wednesday 27 January      
Time: 1.00 pm