Huib van Langevelde, a radio astronomer at the Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC (JIVE), has been named Project Director of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a world-wide collaboration of more than 300 scientists from institutions around the world, known for publishing the first image of a Black Hole in 2019.
The EHT combines sub-millimeter telescopes around the world to form a virtual telescope the size of the Earth. It was assembled with a primary objective of testing the limits of General Relativity by obtaining images of the supermassive Black Holes at the centers of the galaxy M87, known as M87*, and the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A*. In 2019 the Collaboration’s observations of M87* resulted in the first image of a Black Hole.
An expert in Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), Van Langevelde led the Joint Institute for VLBI-ERIC (JIVE) as Director for a decade and is now its Chief Scientist and a professor at the University of Leiden. His appointment is for an initial term of 2 years, effective August 17, 2020. Van Langevelde will lead a Management Team that includes, in part, Dr. Michael Hecht of MIT Haystack Observatory as Deputy Project Director, Dr. Remo Tilanus of the University of Arizona as Operations Manager, and Dr. Geoffrey Bower of the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics as Project Scientist. Looking forward to the challenge, Van Langevelde said “I will be overseeing a complex, global collaboration of scientists with a range of cultures and ambitions.”
Prof. Anton Zensus, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and Chairman of the EHT Board, comments that “Huib van Langevelde is ideally suited to move the EHT forward in pursuit of some of the most exciting and groundbreaking research in Astronomy today.”
As Director, Van Langevelde will steer a multi-year cycle of observations, data analysis, and interpretation leading to publications that address cutting-edge questions in Astrophysics and General Relativity. He will be responsible for coordinating all aspects and resources to the project contributed by the member institutions and observatories and their respective funding agencies.
A next-generation EHT program (ngEHT), led by EHT Founding Director Sheperd Doeleman, is proceeding in parallel to design a large-scale expansion of the EHT over the coming decade. "I look forward to working with Huib on coordinating EHT and ngEHT expansion in the coming years." says Doeleman.
The international collaboration of the Event Horizon Telescope announced the first-ever image of a black hole at the heart of the radio galaxy Messier 87 on April 10, 2019 by creating a virtual Earth-sized telescope. Supported by considerable international investment, the EHT links existing telescopes using novel systems — creating a new instrument with the highest angular resolving power that has yet been achieved.
The individual telescopes involved in the EHT collaboration are: the Atacama Large Millimetre/Sub-Millimeter Array (ALMA), the Atacama Pathfinder EXplorer (APEX), the Greenland Telescope (since 2018), the IRAM 30-meter Telescope, the IRAM NOEMA Observatory (expected 2021), the Kitt Peak Telescope (expected 2021), the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT), the Submillimeter Array (SMA), the Submillimeter Telescope (SMT), and the South Pole Telescope (SPT).
The EHT consortium consists of 13 stakeholder institutes; the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the University of Arizona, the University of Chicago, the East Asian Observatory, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Goethe- Universität Frankfurt, the Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique, the Large Millimeter Telescope, the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, the MIT Haystack Observatory, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the Radboud University.
Welcome to the New Director
Today the Board of the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration announced the appointment of the second Director since its founding, the Dutch astronomer Huib van Langevelde of JIVE, Dwingeloo, the Netherlands. As the Deputy Project Director for the EHTC, I warmly welcome Huib to the Management Team.
The new Director will have a full agenda. Major publications are in preparation, timely research awards are helping us build for the future, and planning is well underway for a 2021 observing campaign. A revised Project Plan is about to be unveiled and we are undertaking new initiatives on behalf of community outreach and internal diversity and inclusion. Many aspects of governance are being revisited for the first time since the establishment of the Collaboration, ranging from data and publication policies to enforcements of codes of conduct. Vigorous expansion of the array is underway, with new sites coming on line and higher frequency observing capability being explored. Along with the challenges of the global pandemic, there will be much for Huib to do!
The Management Team is pleased to welcome a new Director with a stellar scientific track record and a reputation of quiet leadership, decisiveness, inclusiveness and congeniality. We look forward to working with Huib and wish him a warm Welkom.
Deputy Project Director
Prof. Huib Jan van Langevelde, new director from the Event Horizon Telescope, © H.J. van Langevelde