Saturday April 08, 2017

Earth sized telescope to take first ever photo of a black hole

The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy devours a snack.

The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy devours a snack. (NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

Listen 6:53

At the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, almost 26,000 light years away, churns an astronomical monster devouring everything in its path. Nothing escapes the gravitational hunger of a black hole, including light, which is why we've never been able to actually see what a black hole might look like. 

Until now. Or at least that's what many scientists working together around the globe are hoping for, including some Canadian scientists. Dr. Avery Broderick is the Delaney Family John Archibald Wheeler Chair in Theoretical Physics at the Perimeter Institute, and an assistant professor at the University of Waterloo. He says if everything goes according to plan this week and next, humanity will soon behold our very first image of a black hole. 

Nine telescopes on four different continents will link up to form an Earth-sized telescope called, the Event Horizon Telescope. It will give scientists the highest resolution imaging experiment in the history of astronomy.

The resolution is so great, Dr. Broderick says, that with it, "We could watch the hockey game on the moon and still see the puck."