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Observatories and the study of black holes

  • Studying the formation and evolution of galaxies is one of the largest research areas in Oxford.
  • The Global Jet Watch Project is investigating the behaviour of black holes through a network of five observatories in strategic locations: one each in South Africa, Chile and India and one on each side of Australia.
  • Four of the five observatories are sited at boarding schools where students, particularly girls, are encouraged to use the telescopes in their learning. After local bedtime at each location, project leader Professor Katherine Blundell OBE (Physics) operates the telescopes remotely from Oxford, using the internet, to gather more data on evolving objects in our Galaxy.
  • The project investigates the behaviour of microquasars in our Galaxy.
  • Microquasars emit radio waves and x-rays because of black holes found at their centres.
  •  Changes can be observed over human timescales - hours and days – but not when the sun is out.
  • So – using dedicated observatories in locations across the world – ensures that there is always at least one of them in darkness, allowing round-the-clock spectroscopy of important targets.