Institute of Astronomy

Massive Black Holes and Galaxies

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Reinhard Genzel, MPE, Garching13 November 2008Institute of Astronomy Colloquia


Evidence has been accumulating for several decades that many galaxies harbor
central mass concentrations that may be in the form of black holes with masses
between a few million to a few billion time the mass of the Sun. I will discuss
measurements over the last decade, employing adaptive optics imaging and
spectroscopy on large ground-based telescopes that prove the existence of such a
massive black hole in the Center of our Milky Way, beyond any reasonable doubt.
These data also provide key insights into its properties and environment. Future
interferometric studies of the Galactic Center black hole promise to be able to test
gravity in its strong field limit. I will also briefly discuss the cosmological evolution of
massive black holes.


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