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PKU scholars contribute to the award-winning collaboration in event horizon telescope

SEP . 18 2019
Peking University, Sept. 18, 2019: The collaboration in Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) received the 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for achieving the first image of a supermassive black hole, by means of an Earth-sized alliance of telescopes.

Renowned as the “Oscars of Science,” the Breakthrough Prize recognizes the world’s top scientists. Since it is the achievement of global collaboration, the $3 million prize will be equally shared by 347 scientists co-authoring any of the six papers under the series of “First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results” in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, who include Luis Ho, director of Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University (KIAA-PKU), and Shao Lijing, a KIAA-PKU researcher.

In Einstein's theory of general relativity, a black hole is a region of space time exhibiting gravitational acceleration so strong that nothing can escape from it and event horizon marks the limiting boundary of a black hole. However, due to the small size of the event horizon and the distance between the black hole and the Earth, such scientific observation requires a telescope with extraordinarily high resolution.

By placing eight radio telescopes around the world, EHT created a virtual telescope as large as the Earth itself and produced this image of a bright ring surrounding the dark region where light cannot escape, which matched the predictions of Einstein’s theory. Now, the EHT scientists are still working hard to optimize the operation of the telescope to capture another black hole photo with even higher resolution.

Written by: Xing Xu
Edited by: Wang Nini
Source: PKU News (Chinese)