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Astronomer Andrea Ghez Transforms Scientific Understanding of Supermassive Black Holes

Over the past 23 years, grantee partner Dr. Andrea Ghez and her team of astronomers at UCLA’s Galactic Center Group (GCG) have patiently and comprehensively observed and analyzed data to understand the interplay between galaxies and supermassive black holes. The latter possess such strong gravitational fields that not even light can escape their pull.

This past summer, one of the stars tracked by the GCG research team reached its closest approach to the supermassive black hole sitting at the center of our Milky Way. This provided an extraordinary opportunity to, for the first time, test Einstein’s general theory of  relativity around a supermassive black hole. “We’re learning how gravity works,” Dr. Ghez explains. “It’s one of four fundamental forces and the one we have tested the least.”

To view coverage of this groundbreaking research, and the film supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation, see the National Geographic Short Film Showcase. 

To see UCLA’s announcement, visit the UCLA Newsroom. 

To see the published study, visit Science Magazine.

To further explore and understand the data collected by Dr. Ghez and her time, we invite you to play with this interactive data tool.