October 19, 2020 / Modified oct 19, 2020 6:25 p.m.

Nobel committee cites UA astronomy breakthrough in prize award

Nobel Prize-winners in physics built on the success of the Event Horizon imaging project.

Black Hole Nobel First image of a black hole in galaxy M-87
Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.

The University of Arizona-supported project that yielded the first images of a black hole helped win this year's Nobel Prize in physics.

Two astronomers and one mathematician shared the Prize announced earlier this month. They found evidence of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. UA astronomer Dimitrios Psaltis helped start the Event Horizon telescope project. Psalstis notes the Nobel committee's honor finally confirmed the work begun by Albert Einstein and his colleagues early in the 20th century.

"It gave us the tools to design the Event Horizon telescope because it was only through this measurement we knew exactly how big the black hole is in the sky, and that allowed us to design the specifications for our telescope," he said.

The UA-backed Event Horizon project united eight ground-based telescopes around the world in capturing the ground-breaking image of a black hole in another galaxy 55-million light-years from Earth.

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