Dr. Yusef-Zadeh and his team study the massive black hole at the center of our Galaxy. The black hole is associated with the radio source Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) that is centered on two clusters of evolved and young stars. The accretion of ionized thermal winds from nearby young stars onto the black hole is responsible for the luminosity of Sgr A*. On a scale of a few light years, molecular material is distributed in a ring orbiting both Sgr A* and the cluster of stars. The gaseous and stellar systems co-exist spatially and physically interact with the massive black hole. Observations at radio, sub-millimeter, X-ray and infrared wavelengths probe variability and flaring activity. The emission properties of Sgr A* are probed using data from multiple space- and ground-bases observatories (e.g., Herschel, ALMA, EVLA, ATCA, VLBA, CSO, HST and Chandra). Observational results and theory are combined to study the dynamics, accretion rate, and effects on the surrounding stellar populations of the massive black hole at the center of Galaxy. The work will advance our understanding of star formation in the extreme tidal environment around the central black hole; and how mass loss from massive stars feeds the black hole. The team has developed interactive image viewers to bring astronomical images to the public and new results from this research will be included (http://spaceimages.northwestern.edu). There is a collaboration with the Space Visualization Laboratory at the Adler Planetarium. Narrative WorldWide Telescope Tours about the variability of emission from Sgr A* and star formation in the Galactic center are planned, and the Galactic center research will be shared with the public through Adler's "Astronomy Conversation" program.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST)
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James Neff
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Northwestern University at Chicago
United States
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