Stars Orbiting Black Holes

Above, we bring you what astrophysicist Daniel Holz calls “one of the coolest movies in all of science.” What you see here is not exactly straightforward. But it’s the work of UCLA astronomer Andrea Ghez, and it essentially shows stars orbiting around a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy over the past 15 earth years. According to Holz, these orbits, filmed with the largest telescopes in the world on Mauna Kea, are simply “one of the best ways (short of the detection of gravitational waves from black hole mergers) of confirming that black holes exist.” And it’s quite rightly an “incredible feat of observational astronomy.” For more, read Holz’s piece on Discover’s Cosmic Variance blog. Another big thanks to Mike for passing this one our way…

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