Keck Observatory Donor Salon: Hunting for Black Holes in the Milky Way Galaxy

Dr. Jessica Lu

Guest Speaker:

Dr. Jessica Lu

Associate Professor of Astronomy

University of California at Berkeley

The population of stellar mass black holes in the Milky Way is almost entirely unexplored. Only a dozen black holes are confidently known in our Galaxy — all in binary systems. As a result, many basic properties of black holes remain uncertain, including the total number of black holes in the Milky Way, their masses, the fraction in binary systems, and whether black holes receive kicks at birth. To constrain these properties, we need to find and study a larger population of black holes, both in isolation and in binary systems. High-precision astrometry is opening a new window onto black holes. Dr. Lu will share results from her Keck Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope programs, which entail her search for black holes.



The staff and management of the W. M. Keck Observatory wish to offer our deepest gratitude to our Astronomy Talk Series sponsors, Rob and Terry Ryan.