97 research outputs found

    Characterising the SCUBA-2 superconducting bolometer arrays

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    SCUBA-2 is a state of the art 10,000 pixel submillimeter camera installed and being commissioned at the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) providing wide-field simultaneous imaging at wavelengths of 450 and 850 microns. At each wavelength there are four 32 by 40 sub-arrays of superconducting Transition Edge Sensor (TES) bolometers, each packaged with inline SQUID multiplexed readout and amplifier. In this paper we present the results of characterising individual 1280 bolometer science grade sub-arrays, both in a dedicated 50mk dilution refrigerator test facility and in the instrument installed at the JCMT

    Extinction correction and on-sky calibration of SCUBA-2

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    Commissioning of SCUBA-2 included a program of skydips and observations of calibration sources intended to be folded into regular observing as standard methods of source flux calibration and to monitor the atmospheric opacity and stability. During commissioning, it was found that these methods could also be utilised to characterise the fundamental instrument response to sky noise and astronomical signals. Novel techniques for analysing on-sky performance and atmospheric conditions are presented, along with results from the calibration observations and skydips.Comment: 10 pages, 7 figure

    First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. I. The Shadow of the Supermassive Black Hole

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    When surrounded by a transparent emission region, black holes are expected to reveal a dark shadow caused by gravitational light bending and photon capture at the event horizon. To image and study this phenomenon, we have assembled the Event Horizon Telescope, a global very long baseline interferometry array observing at a wavelength of 1.3 mm. This allows us to reconstruct event-horizon-scale images of the supermassive black hole candidate in the center of the giant elliptical galaxy M87. We have resolved the central compact radio source as an asymmetric bright emission ring with a diameter of 42 +/- 3 mu as, which is circular and encompasses a central depression in brightness with a flux ratio greater than or similar to 10: 1. The emission ring is recovered using different calibration and imaging schemes, with its diameter and width remaining stable over four different observations carried out in different days. Overall, the observed image is consistent with expectations for the shadow of a Kerr black hole as predicted by general relativity. The asymmetry in brightness in the ring can be explained in terms of relativistic beaming of the emission from a plasma rotating close to the speed of light around a black hole. We compare our images to an extensive library of ray-traced general-relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of black holes and derive a central mass of M = (6.5 +/- 0.7) x 10(9) M-circle dot. Our radio-wave observations thus provide powerful evidence for the presence of supermassive black holes in centers of galaxies and as the central engines of active galactic nuclei. They also present a new tool to explore gravity in its most extreme limit and on a mass scale that was so far not accessible

    First Tests of Prototype SCUBA-2 Superconducting Bolometer Array

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    We present results of the first tests on a 1280 pixel superconducting bolometer array, a prototype for SCUBA‚Äź2, a sub‚Äźmm camera being built for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii. The bolometers are TES (transition edge sensor) detectors; these take advantage of the large variation of resistance with temperature through the superconducting transition. To keep the number of wires reasonable, a multiplexed read‚Äźout is used. Each pixel is read out through an individual DC SQUID; room temperature electronics switch between rows in the array by biasing the appropriate SQUIDs in turn. Arrays of 100 SQUIDs in series for each column then amplify the output. Unlike previous TES arrays, the multiplexing elements are located beneath each pixel, making large arrays possible, but construction more challenging. The detectors are constructed from Mo/Cu bi‚Äźlayers; this technique enables the transition temperature to be tuned using the proximity effect by choosing the thickness of the normal and superconducting materials. To achieve the required performance, the detectors are operated at a temperature of approximately 120 mK. We describe the results of a basic characterisation of the array, demonstrating that it is fully operational, and give the results of signal to noise measurements

    Monitoring the Morphology of M87* in 2009-2017 with the Event Horizon Telescope

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    The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has recently delivered the first resolved images of M87*, the supermassive black hole in the center of the M87 galaxy. These images were produced using 230 GHz observations performed in 2017 April. Additional observations are required to investigate the persistence of the primary image feature‚ÄĒa ring with azimuthal brightness asymmetry‚ÄĒand to quantify the image variability on event horizon scales. To address this need, we analyze M87* data collected with prototype EHT arrays in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013. While these observations do not contain enough information to produce images, they are sufficient to constrain simple geometric models. We develop a modeling approach based on the framework utilized for the 2017 EHT data analysis and validate our procedures using synthetic data. Applying the same approach to the observational data sets, we find the M87* morphology in 2009-2017 to be consistent with a persistent asymmetric ring of ‚ąľ40 őľas diameter. The position angle of the peak intensity varies in time. In particular, we find a significant difference between the position angle measured in 2013 and 2017. These variations are in broad agreement with predictions of a subset of general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations. We show that quantifying the variability across multiple observational epochs has the potential to constrain the physical properties of the source, such as the accretion state or the black hole spin

    First Sagittarius A* Event Horizon Telescope Results. I. The Shadow of the Supermassive Black Hole in the Center of the Milky Way

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    We present the first Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observations of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the Galactic center source associated with a supermassive black hole. These observations were conducted in 2017 using a global interferometric array of eight telescopes operating at a wavelength of őĽ = 1.3 mm. The EHT data resolve a compact emission region with intrahour variability. A variety of imaging and modeling analyses all support an image that is dominated by a bright, thick ring with a diameter of 51.8 \ub1 2.3 őľas (68% credible interval). The ring has modest azimuthal brightness asymmetry and a comparatively dim interior. Using a large suite of numerical simulations, we demonstrate that the EHT images of Sgr A* are consistent with the expected appearance of a Kerr black hole with mass ‚ąľ4 7 106 M‚ėČ, which is inferred to exist at this location based on previous infrared observations of individual stellar orbits, as well as maser proper-motion studies. Our model comparisons disfavor scenarios where the black hole is viewed at high inclination (i > 50\ub0), as well as nonspinning black holes and those with retrograde accretion disks. Our results provide direct evidence for the presence of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, and for the first time we connect the predictions from dynamical measurements of stellar orbits on scales of 103-105 gravitational radii to event-horizon-scale images and variability. Furthermore, a comparison with the EHT results for the supermassive black hole M87* shows consistency with the predictions of general relativity spanning over three orders of magnitude in central mass

    A ring-like accretion structure in M87 connecting its black hole and jet

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    The nearby radio galaxy M87 is a prime target for studying black hole accretion and jet formation1,2. Event Horizon Telescope observations of M87 in 2017, at a wavelength of 1.3‚ÄČmm, revealed a ring-like structure, which was interpreted as gravitationally lensed emission around a central black hole3. Here we report images of M87 obtained in 2018, at a wavelength of 3.5‚ÄČmm, showing that the compact radio core is spatially resolved. High-resolution imaging shows a ring-like structure of [Formula: see text] Schwarzschild radii in diameter, approximately 50% larger than that seen at 1.3‚ÄČmm. The outer edge at 3.5‚ÄČmm is also larger than that at 1.3‚ÄČmm. This larger and thicker ring indicates a substantial contribution from the accretion flow with absorption effects, in addition\ua0to the gravitationally lensed ring-like emission. The images show that the edge-brightened jet connects to the accretion flow of the black hole. Close to the black hole, the emission profile of the jet-launching region is wider than the expected profile of a black-hole-driven jet, suggesting the possible presence of a wind associated with the accretion flow

    A ring-like accretion structure in M87 connecting its black hole and jet

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    The nearby radio galaxy M87 is a prime target for studying black hole accretion and jet formation^{1,2}. Event Horizon Telescope observations of M87 in 2017, at a wavelength of 1.3 mm, revealed a ring-like structure, which was interpreted as gravitationally lensed emission around a central black hole^3. Here we report images of M87 obtained in 2018, at a wavelength of 3.5 mm, showing that the compact radio core is spatially resolved. High-resolution imaging shows a ring-like structure of 8.4_{-1.1}^{+0.5} Schwarzschild radii in diameter, approximately 50% larger than that seen at 1.3 mm. The outer edge at 3.5 mm is also larger than that at 1.3 mm. This larger and thicker ring indicates a substantial contribution from the accretion flow with absorption effects in addition to the gravitationally lensed ring-like emission. The images show that the edge-brightened jet connects to the accretion flow of the black hole. Close to the black hole, the emission profile of the jet-launching region is wider than the expected profile of a black-hole-driven jet, suggesting the possible presence of a wind associated with the accretion flow.Comment: 50 pages, 18 figures, 3 tables, author's version of the paper published in Natur
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