Black holes, which trap light and warp the very fabric of space, remain one of the great mysteries of science. But astronomers are hoping that a telescope in Africa could help unlock their secrets.
Eli Kasai is an optical astronomer at the University of Namibia, and he is working on a project to bring a millimeter wave telescope to the country, which will be the first of its kind in Africa. Known as the Africa Millimetre Telescope (AMT), Kasai says it could provide the “missing link in the study of black holes.”
A millimeter wave telescope is designed to detect radio waves from objects in space whose wavelengths are in the region of one millimeter. These waves can penetrate the clouds of dust between a black hole and Earth.
Black holes form in outer space when stars collapse or fall in on themselves and the gravitational pull is so strong that not even light can escape. This makes them invisible to the human eye.