The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is still under construction, but when it's fully built it will be a global network of radio telescopes that link together to function as one giant, Earth-sized telescope. It will be able to spot an orange on the surface of the Moon ( A radio transmitting orange at least*). But even now, half built, EHT has resolved features at the horizon of our galaxy's central black hole 26,000 light-years away from Earth. Specifically it has used the polarisation of the light coming from hot matter right up close to the hole to learn about the magnetic fields around it.
"Because of technical advances with the EHT, we can now detect this polarization information. And because the emission near Sgr A* is synchrotron radiation, the direction of linear polarization traces the magnetic fields. So that's how we can go from measuring polarization at the telescope to understanding magnetic fields near the black hole," says EHT researcher Michael Johnson. They also found that the magnetic fields fluctuated on short time scales of only 15 minutes or so.
"Once again, the galactic center is proving to be a more dynamic place than we might have guessed," says Johnson. "Those magnetic fields are dancing all over the place."
|Above: An artist impression of Saggitarius A*, our galaxy's central black hole.|
'Lost in space' Akatsuki probe finally makes it to Venus!
A Japanese space probe that was trapped in an orbit around the Sun after an engine broke down as it tried to enter orbit around Venus, has finally made it to the hellish planet, after engineers used its manoeuvring thrusters to make a second attempt - although the orbit has not yet been independently confirmed.
“It is in orbit!!” reported Sanjay Limaye of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who is working with the science team in Sagamihara, Japan.“We had a perfect operation!” says project manager Masato Nakamura
Elsewhere in the universe:
Suborbital X-ray telescope
Mini spacecraft factory
Russia's crumbling economy cuts ROSCOSMOS budget
* I know of no plans to send radio transmitting oranges to the Moon. Although I'm sure I've just inspired at least one reader to draw a picture of one.