Using eight telescopes scattered across the globe, astronomers will collect data at a scale never attempted before in physics as they attempt to peer into a black hole for the first time.
“Seeing the Unseen
Although astronomers have known since the 1970s that a supermassive black hole, called Sagittarius A*, lurks in the center of the Milky Way, …To see something so small from 26,000 light-years away requires a radio dish of global dimensions.
That might sound out of the question, but it isn’t with interferometry — a technique that integrates multiple observatories into one virtual telescope with a size as big as the distance between the locations. ….
For more than a decade, astronomers have been slowly adding observatories to the Earth-sized telescope, …This year, astronomers will add the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile and the South Pole Telescope in Antarctica — two crucial sites that will sharpen the virtual telescope’s resolution so much that it’s 1,000 times stronger than the Hubble Space Telescope. “We could watch a hockey game on the moon because we could resolve the puck,” says Avery Broderick, a theorist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. And that should make all the difference.”