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Hawai’i Researchers Make Surprising Discovery Regarding S-star Orbits

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

Beyond the Horizon. Join us for the 6th Annual Black Hole Initiative Conference.

May 17-19, 2023

Sheraton Commander Hotel, Cambridge, MA USA

Crossing the horizons of Black Hole Studies from the perspective of Astrophysics, Physics, Mathematics, Philosophy, and History of Science. Featuring: Alejandro Castro, Andrew Cristofoli, Andrea Puhm, Andrew MacFayden, Ann C. Thresher, Caitlin Witt, Chris Akers, Daniel Harlow, Elena Giorgi, Eleni Kontou, Erin Kara, Jan Sbierski, Jeremy Butterfield, Jessica Lu, Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, Laura Cadonati, Lorenzo Sironi, Lynn Grimwell, Michael Johnson, Natalie Paquette, Roland Bittleston, Smander Naoz, Suvi Gezari, Vijay Balasubramanian, and more!