April 25, 2019

Science on Tap: Obtaining images of black holes and jetted outflows

Matthew Lister, professor in Purdue's Department of Physics and Astronomy, will speak at the next installment of Science on Tap with a talk on "Imaging Black Holes and Jetted Outflows With Radio Telescopes."

The event will take place at 6 p.m. today (April 25) at Purdue Railyard in the Kurz Purdue Technology Center, 1281 Win Hentschel Blvd. The talk is free and open to anyone 21 and older.

In the heart of many galaxies lie supermassive black holes responsible for launching extremely fast outflows that emit radiation across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. As indicated by Einstein's theory of relativity, these jets can easily outshine their entire host galaxy if they are pointed nearly directly at Earth. As such, they dominate the sky in radio waves and at gamma-ray wavelengths.

Lister will discuss how astronomers regularly image these powerful phenomena at extremely high resolution using radio telescopes such as the Very Long Baseline Array and the Event Horizon Telescope. These allow astronomers to make time-lapse movies of the jetted outflows, and obtain images of the region near the black hole event horizon, as seen recently in the nearby galaxy M87 by the EHT.

Science on Tap, led by graduate students Elizabeth Phillips, Matthew Pharris, Emma Lendy and Aswathy Chandran, provides Purdue faculty and collaborating researchers the opportunity to share research activities in an informal setting with presentations designed to appeal to a general audience.

Source: Emma Lendy, organizer of Science On Tap Lafayette, elendy@purdue.edu

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