A Hawaiʻi discovery through and through. Dr. Devin Chu of Hilo, an astronomer with the UCLA Galactic Center Orbits Initiative, has been leading a 10-year survey tracking stars whizzing dangerously close to the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Using the W. M. Keck Observatory on his home island, Chu and his team found these keiki ʻS-starsʻ are surprisingly flying solo.
Typically, stars their age and mass spend their childhood with a twin. S-stars however, have no stellar companions. The survey marks the first systematic search for binary star systems in this exotic region of the Galactic Center. Congrats to Devin and the entire team!
Here, the orbits of S-stars are plotted as colored dots around the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, all of which show no companion star. Credit: UCLA Galactic Center Group/W. M. Keck Observatory