Canada’s Role In The Event Horizon Telescope
The world is abuzz with electric excitement after science finally managed to capture the very first image of an actual black hole. Due to the nature of the gravitational force contained by a black hole, literally anything that passes over its threshold, known as “the event horizon”, is instantaneously sucked into what may very well be another reality where the laws of matter, space and time no longer apply. Only we can’t exactly approach one, have a look around and leave again. Even a simple approach would not be possible. For this reason, it’s necessary for mankind to first of all acquire more knowledge about the nature of black holes, and this can only be achieved by studying them from a safe distance.
And that is exactly what the group of 8 telescopes collectively known as the Event Horizon Telescope have done. Only what most people don’t realise is that the country to have made possible the technology applied by the Event Horizon Telescope in order to give us our very first snap of the massive black hole is none other than our very own: Canada.
1967: The Year When It All Changed
Black holes have been described by some of the great minds of science as probably holding the answer to just about every question ever asked. It’s the same science often referred to as “the theory of everything”. And thanks to the technology used to put together the Event Horizon Telescope, we’re finally a step closer to exactly how our universe works.
It was the year 1967 when what is known as Long Baseline Interferometry was first demonstrated. A single telescope would never have been able to capture an image of a black hole millions of light-years away, especially not one estimated to be nearly 6 billion times the size of our own sun. But by combining a group of satellites, a much larger virtual type telescope is created; one able to zoom in on objects too dim to even be identified by ordinary telescope lenses.
This is exactly the nature of the discovery that was made by scientists at the National Research Council of Canada during that year. The Canadian scientists became the first brilliant minds ever to have synchronised two radio telescopes stationed an incredible 3,074km apart; the very same technology that provided us with the first image ever of an actual black hole in space.
The More We Discover, The Less We Know
But why do we even want to know about black holes or why they exist? The answer is simple: they offer a glimpse into an altogether different reality to what we know to be real. Black holes challenge what we know about nature, the universe, and yes; even what we think we know about ourselves.
That’s as good a reason as any. But that’s just our small and humble opinion.