Week in Geek: Black holes and revelations

Updated
 
Week in Geek: Black holes and revelations
Week in Geek: Black holes and revelations

This amazing video (click image to play) shows the motions of the stars at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. As you can see, there is no visual object at the center that they appear to be orbiting around. In fact, they are orbiting around a supermassive black hole. We can deduce the properties of this black hole from the speed and shape of their orbits. Only something very, very massive could account for the highly elliptical orbits you see at the center here.

The movie begins in 1893 and plays through to the present, zooming out from the galactic center along our line-of-sight. The field of view at the start spans a distance of approximately 1.5 light years and expands to show orbits out to 20 light years across. The colors of the stars represent stellar ages: green are young, orange are old, and magenta ones are unknown. The length of the tail behind a given star shows how far it travels in a 15-20 year time span.

This animation was created by Professor Andrea Ghez and her research team at UCLA and are from data sets obtained with the W. M. Keck Telescopes and in collaboration with the University of Illinois NCSA Advanced Visualization Library.

And now for some more revelatory geek:

Have a great and geeky week. @Summer_Ash

Rachel Maddow Show Geek

Week in Geek: Black holes and revelations

Updated