THEZA: TeraHertz Exploration and Zooming-in for Astrophysics
Journal article, 2021

This paper presents the ESA Voyage 2050 White Paper for a concept of TeraHertz Exploration and Zooming-in for Astrophysics (THEZA). It addresses the science case and some implementation issues of a space-borne radio interferometric system for ultra-sharp imaging of celestial radio sources at the level of angular resolution down to (sub-) microarcseconds. THEZA focuses at millimetre and sub-millimetre wavelengths (frequencies above similar to 300 GHz), but allows for science operations at longer wavelengths too. The THEZA concept science rationale is focused on the physics of spacetime in the vicinity of supermassive black holes as the leading science driver. The main aim of the concept is to facilitate a major leap by providing researchers with orders of magnitude improvements in the resolution and dynamic range in direct imaging studies of the most exotic objects in the Universe, black holes. The concept will open up a sizeable range of hitherto unreachable parameters of observational astrophysics. It unifies two major lines of development of space-borne radio astronomy of the past decades: Space VLBI (Very Long Base-line Interferometry) and mm- and sub-mm astrophysical studies with "single dish" instruments. It also builds upon the recent success of the Earth-based Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) - the first-ever direct image of a shadow of the super-massive black hole in the centre of the galaxy M87. As an amalgam of these three major areas of modern observational astrophysics, THEZA aims at facilitating a breakthrough in high-resolution high image quality studies in the millimetre and sub-millimetre domain of the electromagnetic spectrum.


Spaceborne astrophysics

Super-massive black hole

Radio interferometry

mm- and sub-mm astronomy


Leonid I. Gurvits

Delft University of Technology

Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE)

Zsolt Paragi

Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE)

Viviana Casasola

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

John Conway

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Onsala Space Observatory

Jordy Davelaar

Radboud University

Heino Falcke

Radboud University

Rob Fender

University of Oxford

S. Frey

Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE)

Christian M. Fromm

Goethe University Frankfurt

Cristina Garcia Miro

Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE)

Michael A. Garrett

University of Manchester

Leiden University

Marcello Giroletti

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

Ciriaco Goddi

Radboud University

Jose-Luis Gomez

Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Jeffrey van der Gucht

Radboud University

Jose Carlos Guirado

Universitat de Valencia

Zoltan Haiman

Columbia University

Frank Helmich

Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON)

University of Groningen

Elizabeth Humphreys

European Southern Observatory (ESO)

Violette Impellizzeri

Atacama Large Millimeter-submillimeter Array (ALMA)

Michael Kramer

Max Planck Society

Michael Lindqvist

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Onsala Space Observatory

Hendrik Linz

Max Planck Society

Elisabetta Liuzzo

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

Andrei P. Lobanov

Max Planck Society

Yosuke Mizuno

Goethe University Frankfurt

Luciano Rezzolla

Goethe University Frankfurt

Freek Roelofs

Radboud University

Eduardo Ros

Max Planck Society

Kazi L. J. Rygl

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

Tuomas Savolainen

Aalto University

Max Planck Society

Karl Schuster

Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique (IRAM)

Tiziana Venturi

Istituto nazionale di astrofisica (INAF)

Martina C. Wiedner

Université Paris PSL

J. Anton Zensus

Max Planck Society

Experimental Astronomy

0922-6435 (ISSN) 1572-9508 (eISSN)

Vol. 51 3 559-594

Subject Categories

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


Signal Processing



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4/5/2022 5