APEX takes part in sharpest observation ever


Telescopes in Chile, Hawaii, and Arizona reach sharpness two million times finer than human vision

An international team of astronomers has observed the heart of a distant quasar with unprecedented sharpness, two million times finer than human vision. The observations, made by connecting the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope [1] to two others on different continents for the first time, is a crucial step towards the dramatic scientific goal of the “Event Horizon Telescope” project [2]: imaging the supermassive black holes at the centre of our own galaxy and others.

Astronomers connected APEX, in Chile, to the Submillimeter Array (SMA) [3] in Hawaii, USA, and the Submillimeter Telescope (SMT) [4] in Arizona, USA. They were able to make the sharpest direct observation ever [5], of the centre of a distant galaxy, the bright quasar 3C 279, which contains a supermassive black hole with a mass about one billion times that…

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