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The monster at the heart of our galaxy

Prize lecture

Event video

March
012016

18:30 - 19:30

Location

The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG

Overview

Artist's illustration of a supermassive black hole.

Learn about new developments in the study of black holes. Through the capture and analysis of twenty years of high-resolution imaging, Dr Ghez and her team have moved the case for a supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy from a possibility to a certainty.

Further advances in state-of-the-art high-resolution imaging technology on the world’s largest telescopes have greatly expanded the power of using stellar orbits to characterise black holes. Recent observations have revealed an environment around the black hole that is quite unexpected (young stars where there should be none; a lack of old stars where there should be many and a puzzling new class of objects). But continued measurements of the motions of stars have solved many of the puzzles posed by these perplexing populations of stars. This work on the orbits of stars, along with observations of the dining habits of the black hole, is providing insight into how black holes grow and the role that they play in regulating the growth of their host galaxies. 

The Bakerian Lecture series began in 1775 and is the premier lecture in the physical sciences. Professor Andrea Ghez won the 2016 Bakerian Medal and Lecture for her acclaimed discoveries using the techniques of optical astronomy, especially her sustained work on the motions and nature of the stars orbiting the black hole in the centre of our Galaxy.

Attending this event

  • Free
  • No registration required 
  • Doors open at 6pm
  • Seats allocated on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Travel and accessibility information can be found on our website

This lecture will be supported by a BSL interpreter, and will also have subtitles provided by StageText. The lecture will be webcast live and a recorded video will be available on this webpage following the event.

For all enquiries, please contact the Events Team.

The monster at the heart of our galaxy The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK