The Event Horizon telescope network is up and running again

The Event Horizon telescope network is up and running again

The series of planetary-scale observers most famous for creating the first ever image of a black hole is returning to work. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is preparing for its 2022 campaign, which includes seven days of remote observation. The network of telescopes will focus on dramatic objects across the universe, including black holes, galaxies and quasars, which are objects with black holes in the middle.

The EHT will rely on remote observation techniques given the ongoing covid-19 pandemic. The observation window runs from Tuesday 15 March to 28 March to cope with bad weather or other problems, EHT board secretary Eduardo Ros, explained in an email. Ros is also the scientific coordinator of the radio astronomy department at the Max Planck Institute of Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany.

Three new facilities are participating in the observations by joining the other eight. The additional partners will provide scientists with data on more types of light than they had for the famous black hole image released in 2019, Ros explained.

According to Ros, this year's targets include both the black hole at the center of the galaxy Messier 87, which was the subject of the famous ring image released in 2019, and Sagittarius A *, which is the hole dynamic black in the center of the Milky Way about 25,000 light years from Earth. The EHT has allocated small chunks of time to observing half a dozen other black holes and quasars, ranging up to nearly 7 billion light-years away from Earth, Ros said.

The campaign this year marks the second consecutive year of observing after a two-year hiatus for the Event Horizon Telescope. “2019 was canceled for operational reasons and 2020 was canceled due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ros said. This year, the telescope network will again rely on remote support for observation sites using what Ros called "a similar approach" to last year's procedure.