586 research outputs found

    Imaging black holes: past, present and future

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    This paper briefly reviews past, current, and future efforts to image black holes in the radio regime. Black holes seem like mystical objects, but they are an integral part of current astrophysics and are at the center of attempts to unify quantum physics and general relativity. Yet, nobody has ever seen a black hole. What do they look like? Initially, this question seemed more of an academic nature. However, this has changed over the past two decades. Observations and theoretical considerations suggest that the supermassive black hole, Sgr A*, in the center of our Milky Way is surrounded by a compact, foggy emission region radiating at and above 230 GHz. It has been predicted that the event horizon of Sgr A* should cast its shadow onto that emission region, which could be detectable with a global VLBI array of radio telescopes. In contrast to earlier pictures of black holes, that dark feature is not supposed to be due to a hole in the accretion flow, but would represent a true negative image of the event horizon. Currently, the global Event Horizon Telescope consortium is attempting to make such an image. In the future those images could be improved by adding more telescopes to the array, in particular at high sites in Africa. Ultimately, a space array at THz frequencies, the Event Horizon Imager, could produce much more detailed images of black holes. In combination with numerical simulations and precise measurements of the orbits of stars - ideally also of pulsars - these images will allow us to study black holes with unprecedented precision.Comment: 10 pages, 3 figures, invited review, http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/942/1/01200

    Frontiers of Astrophysics - Workshop Summary

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    We summarize recent results presented in the astrophysics session during a conference on ``Frontiers of Contemporary Physics''. We will discuss three main fields (High-Energy Astrophysics, Relativistic Astrophysics, and Cosmology), where Astrophysicists are pushing the limits of our knowledge of the physics of the universe to new frontiers. Since the highlights of early 1997 were the first detection of a redshift and the optical and X-ray afterglows of gamma-ray bursts, as well as the first well-documented flares of TeV-Blazars across a large fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum, we will concentrate on these topics. Other topics covered are black holes and relativistic jets, high-energy cosmic rays, Neutrino-Astronomy, extragalactic magnetic fields, and cosmological models.Comment: Proceedings of the Workshop "Frontiers in Contemporary Physics", Nashville, May 11-16, 1997, AIP-conference series, Ed. T. Weiler & R. Panvini, LaTex(aip2col), 13 pages, preprint also available at http://www.astro.umd.edu/~hfalcke/publications.html#frontier