SXSW 2019 Panel Pitch: "EHT: A Planetary Effort to Photograph a Black Hole"

The Event Horizon Telescope needs your help! We have put together a proposal for a panel to be featured at the 2019 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, March 8-17 2019. Over 5,000 panels have been submitted to SXSW, but fewer than 1,000 spots are available. One part of the selection process are votes from the community, so please spread the word on the web and social media, and vote for our proposed panel via the SXSW PanelPicker! Votes can be placed by Thursday, August 30th at 11:59 p.m. PST. Below is the description of the proposed panel and our brand new promotional movie.

SXSW PanelPicker


Event Horizon Telescope: A Planetary Effort to Photograph a Black Hole

Predicted almost a century ago by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, black holes not only exist, but actually power some of the most extreme phenomena in the Universe. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a global effort to construct an Earth-sized virtual telescope array, able to actually “photograph” nearby supermassive black holes. It had its first full run in April 2017, and will announce results in 2019. Join EHT project director and project scientist (Doeleman, Psaltis), EHT science council astrophysicist (Markoff), and author/filmmaker (Galison) as they discuss the expected results from the EHT along with their scientific, philosophical, and historical impact. Q&A session to follow (moderator: Galison).


  • Black holes can be seen even though light cannot escape them. Surrounding matter illuminates the hole's “shadow”, revealing the shape of spacetime.
  • The EHT is a global experiment linking telescopes across Earth and resulting in the first-ever “photographs” of our own Galaxy’s central black hole.
  • The act of seeing an object for the first time—like the actual event horizon of a black hole—plays a key role in the development of science.


  • Sera Markoff, Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics and Astroparticle Physics, University of Amsterdam (organizer)
  • Peter Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University
  • Dimitrios Psaltis, Professor of Astronomy and Physics, University of Arizona
  • Sheperd Doeleman, EHT Project Director, Senior Astronomer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Short movie about the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project produced by Peter Galison and Chyld King, in support of our pitch to organize a panel at SXSW 2019 festival. Please vote in favor of our panel here: