"Observing" a black hole

A few days ago we watched a video of the 2016 Royal Society Bakerian Lecture given by astronomer Andrea Ghez of UCLA. It is a beautiful example of doing trustworthy science [link].

She and her team worked passionately to make ever more sensitive and reliable measurements until they could observe orbits of stars orbiting the black hole at the center of our galaxy. A key step was incorporating adaptive optics which deformed a mirror to cancel disturbances by our atmosphere.

With this better viewing of those orbiting stars she and her team could also measure spectra of those stars. The spectra gave some surprises. With other news dragging us down it was good to be uplifted by this beautiful example of doing trustworthy science.