Warren Brown, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Topic: "Hypervelocity Stars and Massive Black Holes"  (Video)

ABSTRACT:  Hypervelocity stars ejected from the Galaxy at ~1000 km/s are a natural consequence of the massive black hole in the Galactic center.  We discovered the first hypervelocity star in 2005, and since then our targeted survey has discovered 14 unbound stars.  The distribution of hypervelocity stars is linked to the black hole ejection mechanism, and reveals the history of stars interacting with the black hole.  Measuring hypervelocity star trajectories also allows us to place unique constraints on the Galactic dark matter potential.