EHT Observing Campaign 2020 Canceled Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak

The global array of telescopes connected into the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) was due to start observations at the end of March 2020 in order to expand and enhance the first set of results published approximately one year ago, including the first-ever image of a black hole in the galaxy M87. Regrettably, several participating observatories have shut down in response to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and it was necessary to cancel the observations. A combination of weather patterns and celestial mechanics makes it impossible to perform a high-quality EHT observation at any part of the year other than this late March to early April time slot, so we will have to wait for March 2021 to try again.

Progress on the scientific goals of the EHT Collaboration is secondary to the health and well-being of our collaboration members, our families, our institutions, and the people who work at the observatory and correlator facilities that support our efforts. It is heartbreaking that, for the second year in a row, circumstances beyond our control have forced cancellation of our observing campaign. On the brighter side, we obtained a rich trove of data from 2017 and 2018 observations. We will now devote our full concentration to completion of scientific publications from the 2017 data and dive into the analysis of data obtained with the enhanced EHT array in 2018. We are looking forward to observations with the EHT array expanded to 11 observatories in the spring of 2021.