Invited Talk - Plenary
Tuesday, 12 September 2023, 11:00 (H 0104 / virtual plenum)
Astronomy at Highest Angular Resolution - Adaptive Optics, Interferometry and Black Holes
The last 25 years have seen wonderful times in high angular resolution, optical/infrared ground-based astronomy: active optics enabled ever larger telescopes, adaptive optics now routinely remove the image blur from the turbulent earth atmosphere, and integral field spectroscopy adds the third, spectral dimension to highest resolution imaging. And most recently, optical/infrared interferometry brought yet another revolution by synthesizing a telescope with an equivalent diameter of a hundred meter and more. We will describe the development and advances in the field, and especially the pioneering GRAVITY instrument. Our presentation takes us from exoplanets all the way to distant quasars, with special focus on the Galactic Center and tests of the massive black hole paradigm. The ongoing upgrades will soon boost optical interferometry to the next level, opening up the extragalactic sky for milli-arcsecond resolution interferometric imaging. We will end with an outlook on expanding optical interferometry to kilometer wide arrays, which will be hundred to thousand times sharper than even the largest single dish telescopes.