Milky Way Center


Observations of stellar orbits provide overwhelming evidence for a massive black hole lurking in the heart of the Milky Way. The Galactic Center is also densely packed with stars and star clusters containing the most massive stars known in the Galaxy. If the Earth were located in the Galactic Center, night would be as bright as day from the light of hundreds of stars blazing in the sky. A massive black hole in such a crowded environment will inevitably sling-shot a few unlucky stars straight out of the Milky Way. Smithsonian astronomers are at the forefront of finding such "hypervelocity" stars ejected from the Galactic Center.


Warren Brown