Sat, Aug 11, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Documentary on telescope project to premiere at NTU

Staff writer, with CNA

A documentary about the Taiwan-led Greenland Telescope (GLT) project is to make its world premiere at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) Astronomy Mathematics Building on Friday next week, Academia Sinica announced on Thursday.

Dome of the Sky — Observing Black Holes From Greenland is a documentary that captured the final installation of the GLT, a joint development project between Academia Sinica’s Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the US, for the observation of super-massive black holes.

The project was initiated in 2011, when the US National Science Foundation presented the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory with a 12m radio antenna to deploy and operate in Greenland, Academia Sinica said.

The Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics led the effort to refurbish and rebuild the antenna to prepare it for the cold climate of Greenland.

In 2016, the telescope was shipped to Thule Air Base, Greenland, inside the Arctic Circle, where it was reassembled late last year.

In April, the GLT joined the Event Horizon Telescope observing campaign, a global array of linked radio dishes that seeks to capture images of black holes, Academia Sinica said.

Hsu Chien-kuo (徐建國), the film’s director, who followed the project from beginning to end, said the experience was an eye-opener.

Hsu said that many people fantasize about astronomical research, romanticizing the job, but it turned out to be far harder than he imagined.

Astronomers often work in extremely harsh environments for the sake of science, he said.

A question-and-answer session and a star-gazing event are to be held at the university following the premiere, Academia Sinica said.

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