KUALA LUMPUR: The first image of a black hole was unveiled on Wednesday (Apr 10) by astronomers, hailed as an "outstanding technical achievement".
Malaysian scientist Kevin Koay Jun Yi was part of the worldwide collaborative effort behind the groundbreaking feat.
According to Star2, Mr Koay got involved in the project after joining the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the end of 2016.
“I was invited to join the Greenland telescope and EHT group because of my background and previous experience in radio astronomy. Of course, this project was too exciting for me to turn down!” he told Star2 in an email interview.
Out of some 200 collaboration members internationally, Mr Koay was among the first 20 people who first saw the images.
“I was part of the observing team at the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, in April 2017 when these observations were carried out,” said the 37-year-old, who hails from Penang.
“I was also part of the data processing and imaging teams, so was heavily involved in processing, validating and checking the data and turning them into the images.”
Mr Koay is now involved in commissioning and observing activities at the newly constructed Greenland telescope in the Arctic, which is part of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) network - a worldwide array of ground-based radio telescopes designed to capture images of a black hole.
“There’s much more to learn and much to improve, like the inclusion of new telescopes such as the Greenland telescope to achieve better image quality,” said Mr Koay.