CfA selects contractor for next-generation Event Horizon Telescope antennas

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Part of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) has selected a contractor to design, develop and manufacture antennas for the Next Generation Event Horizon Telescope (ngEHT). in 2023 August 10 CfA officials signed a contract with the German company MTex Technology GmbH.

ngEHT will expand the existing Event Horizon telescope by adding many new antennas. The EHT currently connects 11 radio antennas around the world to study and image the environment around supermassive black holes (SMBHs). The project has already imaged two SMBHs: M87* in 2019 and Sgr A* – SMBH at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy – 2022. Adding these new antennas will allow for even sharper images of black holes. movies.

“Supermassive black holes convert the energy of infalling matter into radiant light and power in near-light-speed jets of charged particles that pierce entire galaxies. How this happens remains one of astronomy’s great mysteries,” said CfA astronomer and ngEHT Shep Doeleman. project manager. “NgEHT will capture the dynamics of black holes, allow us to see them in action, and even provide new tests of Einstein’s gravity. What we learn will have implications for all of science.”

An alternative artist’s concept of the future next-generation Event Horizon Telescope (ngEHT) antennas from mtex. Credit: mtex technology GmBH, Astrophysics Center | Harvard and the Smithsonian

“The contract with mtex is being planned in three phases,” said Garret Fitzpatrick, ngEHT project engineer. “Already under way in the first phase, a mature design concept for future antennas with detailed costings will be developed. Additional opportunities include the completion of the final design and prototype production. In the third and final phase, the new antennas will be built and delivered to locations around the world.”

“The NgEHT will be a truly unique instrument and we are proud to have our team selected by CfA,” said Lutz Stenvers, CEO of mtex Antenna Technology. “We are delighted to contribute our extensive technical expertise in telescope engineering to ngEHT.”

ngEHT works by connecting dishes around the world to create a virtual telescope the size of a planet. The bigger the telescope, the smaller objects it can observe in the sky, so the ngEHT, completed by the end of this decade, will give us the sharpest possible images of Earth’s surface.

“CfA’s mission is to ask and answer big questions that advance our knowledge and understanding of the Universe, and finding new and better ways to study black holes is part of that,” said CfA Director Lisa Kewley. “Our goal is to enable the study of black holes and their effects on their surroundings through cinema. The ngEHT is a key factor in supporting these efforts in the near future and in the years to come.”

The Mtex press release detailing the contract and its expected results can be found at:

Godfrey Kemp

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