Lindy Blackburn

Lindy Blackburn
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Dr. Lindy Blackburn is a Radio Astronomer and EHT Data Scientist at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian. He leads calibration and data reduction efforts for the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, toward the goal of obtaining high resolution images of supermassive black holes. Blackburn obtained a PhD in physics from MIT while working on the LIGO experiment and was a NASA Postdoctoral Program fellow at Goddard Space Flight Center prior to joining the Center for Astrophysics in 2014. His work focuses on the study of black holes, experimental general relativity, and the application of statistical methods and modeling for precision measurement in astronomy.

Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian

Black Hole Imaging with the Event Horizon Telescope

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) has captured the first image of the shadow of a black hole, a result of the processing and interpretation of petabytes of signal data recorded simultaneously at several locations spanning the globe using the technique of very long baseline interferometry. The radio image, taken at a wavelength of 1.3 mm, matches that of lensed photons from relativistic magnetized plasma surrounding a 6.5 billion solar mass black hole at the center of nearby galaxy M87. I will introduce the EHT instrument and first results, highlighting the challenges in maintaining a phase stable synthetic aperture the size of the Earth at these high radio frequencies. Moving to even higher observing frequencies and and utilizing longer baselines to space places even stronger requirements on timing and calibration, but the additional coverage and resolution provided will enable an entirely new way to study black hole dynamics and populations through direct imaging and movie making.