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Big Isle Observatory: Heart Of The Galaxy Is A Black Hole

Posted May 13, 2014, 12:49 PM HST Updated May 13, 2014, 03:17 PM HST
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Infrared images of the Galactic Center using the Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics System at the W. M. Keck Observatory. Image created by Prof. Andrea Ghez and her research team at UCLA.

Over the past two years, research scientists at the W.M. Keck Observatory have been using the observatory’s highest possible angular resolution to observe the center of the Milky Way.

What these researchers from the Galactic Center Group at UCLA established was that the heart of our galaxy contains a supermassive black hole that is gobbling up gases and creating highly variable emissions of infrared light, said a Keck Observatory release.

The twin Keck telescopes' laser pointers aimed at our galaxy's center. Screenshot video image courtesy of Dan Birchall/UCLA Galactic Center Group.

The twin Keck telescopes’ laser pointers aimed at our galaxy’s center. Screenshot video image courtesy of Dan Birchall/UCLA Galactic Center Group.

On Tuesday, May 20, Galactic Center Group researcher Leo Ryan will discuss the black hole’s turbulent “feeding” process, which has become an important source for better understanding of the black hole and its immediate environment.

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Supported by Rob and Terry Ryan and Keck Observatory‚Äôs Rising Stars Fund, the lecture will take place 7 p.m. at Kahilu Theater, Waimea. It’s free and open to the public.

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