Thursday, December 22, 2005

New Images of Center of the Galaxy

Astronomers Use Laser To Take Clearest Images Of The Center Of The Milky Way
UCLA astronomers and colleagues have taken the first clear picture of the center of our Milky Way galaxy, including the area surrounding the supermassive black hole, using a new laser virtual star at the W.M. Keck observatory in Hawaii.

"Everything is much clearer now," said Andrea Ghez, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy, who headed the research team. "We used a laser to improve the telescope's vision -- a spectacular breakthrough that will help us understand the black hole's environment and physics. It's like getting Lasik surgery for the eyes, and will revolutionize what we can do in astronomy."
This is a great breakthrough in allowing us to peer more closely at our astronomical neighbors than ever before. Here's a sample:

Wait, hang on a second... Did you see that speck? Let me enlarge this section below...

Ok, that's the general area I think. Do you see it?

Hmm...still pretty fuzzy. Let's see if I can get this area right here...

...a little closer and more in focus..

Well, that's getting there. Wow, I think there's really something there in the heart of the galaxy near that giant black hole. Let's see if one more zoom will do the trick. It's right in this area here...

Wait, I think I can just make it out now!!!

Oh, man....they were right all along. How embarrassing...

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