The Submillimeter Array

Science: Galactic Center

The principal focus of the SMA for the study of the Galactic Center region is to investigate the structure, time variability and polarization of the Sgr A*, the compact radio source in the center of our galaxy. Precise astrometric observations at near infrared wavelengths over the past two decades of stars orbiting Sgr A* show there is a central mass of 3.6 x 107 M⊙ within a volume of 10-7 pc3. Since the lifetime of any stellar cluster of this density is rather short, the central mass is most probably a black hole.

Galactic Center SMA Participation in Simultaneous Monitoring of Flaring from the Galactic Center's Supermassive Black Hole The Galactic center’s supermassive black hole, Sgr A*, is a source of strong and fluctuating radiation emanating from the accretion flow. Since it lies about more than 100 times closer than any other SMBH, it is a prototype that can be studied in far greater detail than others.