Astronomy

Learn About Black Holes at ‘Imiloa on May 19

May 14, 2017, 10:00 AM HST
* Updated May 14, 7:41 AM
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Courtesy of ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.

Want to learn more about black holes and how scientists from around the world study them? Dr. Allison Peck will discuss how researchers find them by linking telescopes across the globe to create “A Telescope the Size of the Earth” at the next ‘Imiloa Maunakea Skies Talk on Friday, May 19, at 7 p.m.

In April 2017, astronomers collaborated to link ground-based instruments around the world using an extraordinary technique called Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI). In effect, they created one giant observatory known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).

The EHT will target and explore the supermassive black hole at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. The goal of the collective effort is to capture the first image of a black hole’s event horizon–the point where light can no longer escape the object’s gravity.

During the talk, Dr. Peck–who represents the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) on Maunakea and serves as a scientist at Gemini Observatory–will also discuss how black holes form, and some of the methods astronomers use to detect them in space.

Map of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) locations across the Earth. Image courtesy of ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.

Dr. Peck has an extensive background with complicated projects in radio astronomy, and has worked with the VLBA since she started her PhD in Physics at New Mexico Tech in 1994. After obtaining her doctorate, she spent two years in Germany where she focused on searching for gas falling into black holes. She moved to Hawai‘i Island in 2001 to work at the Smithsonian Submillimeter Array, and then went on to Chile in 2007 to commission the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter telescope, the largest ground-based telescope project in the world.

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General admission for the talk is $10 and $8 for members (member level discounts apply). Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk, or by calling (808) 932-8901.

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‘Imiloa’s monthly Maunakea Skies Talk includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawai‘i, identifying visible constellations and stars for the audience. Maunakea Skies planetarium presentations are held on the third Friday of each month. 

 

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