The global network of telescopes, known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), will be getting a new station aimed at enhancing measurements in space and creating videos of black holes. Having received a financial guarantee from Nijmegen’s Radboud University (RU), construction of the newest radio telescope, the Africa Millimeter Telescope (AMT), is all systems go. Part of an ongoing collaboration with the University of Namibia (UNAM), RU has pledged 1.9 million euros to realize the telescope, as well as a scientific and technical contribution of one million euros annually for the next 10 years.
The AMT is planned to be built in Namibia where UNAM will be tasked with managing the telescope. Measuring in with a diameter of 15 meters, it will be Africa’s first observatory capable of sensing millimeter-wavelength radiation. It will be modeled after other recent telescopes, such as the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile and the Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique (IRAM) on the Plateau de Bure in the French Alps. Additionally, the funding will be used to create an education and outreach program at UNAM to prepare the next generation of Namibians to operate the new telescope.
“The addition of the AMT to the EHT network will increase the number of connections between the telescopes, thus allowing for better images and videos to be taken of the black hole at the center of our galaxy,” says Heino Flacke, initiator and scientific leader of the project. “This will enable us to further test our theories on black holes and understand how they generate gigantic amounts of energy.”