Supermassive Black Holes

Supermassive black holes are some of the most enigmatic objects in the Universe. Until recently, they had not been observed directly since, once inside a black hole, nothing escapes its extreme gravity, not even light. Close to a black hole, the fabric of space and time gets so twisted and bent that we can test the physical laws under uniquely extreme conditions.  Only the EHT can image supermassive black holes, and being northern-most arm of the EHT-network, the GLT provides a crucial contribution to the high angular resolution of these images. The EHT has heralded a new era of studies of supermassive black holes, which will allow us to answer fundamental questions about their origin and how they affect their galactic environments. In the coming years, the EHT imaging capabilities will have improved 10-fold, increasing the detail and reach of black hole studies to even more distant galaxies.

Galaxy Formation and Evolution

How the first galaxies formed and evolved to the present day is one of the biggest questions in modern astrophysics. The Universe evolved to its present state from an incredibly hot and dense beginning, referred to as the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago. However, how and when the first stars, black holes, galaxies, and dark matter structures formed in the first billion years after the Big Bang remains unknown. Tackling this question requires large, time-consuming  surveys of the sky that truthfully sample the distribution of matter in the early Universe. The GLT offers the unique possibility of surveying 10s of square degrees of the sky at far-IR/millimeter wavelengths, thereby probing the distribution of cold gas and dust, invisible to optical telescopes, from which the first galaxies formed. The GLT thus provides highly complementary survey data of key sky regions targeted for cosmological studies by major upcoming surveys at other wavelengths, such as Deep Fields targeted by ESA’s Euclid mission. In a current project, funded by the Carlsberg Foundation, we are installing the GISMO camera on the GLT.