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Seeking the Invisible: Detecting Supermassive Black Holes in Space

Evening Program

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1A0142
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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The first image of a black hole, April, 2019 (Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration)


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
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We know that monstrous black holes, one million to several billion times the mass of the sun, lurk in the centers of almost every large galaxy in the universe. They can have a profound effect on those galaxies and are capable of giving rise to the loudest gravitation signals in the universe when they merge.

Shobita Satyapal, a physics and astronomy professor at George Mason University, discusses several significant recent events in black hole astrophysics: the imaging of the event horizon of the M87 galaxy’s black hole; detection of colliding black holes from the LIGO interferometer; and the awarding of the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics to Andrea Ghez and Reinhard Genzel for identifying the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

Then, Peter Plavchan brings the skies into your living room with remote control of the GMU Observatory. Weather permitting, enjoy a remote tour of the observatory after the program. 

NOTE: Next GMU Observatory program will be The Future of Humanity in Space on March 17.

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Inside Science