Andrea Ghez is a stargazing detective, tracking the visible and invisible forces lurking in the vastness of interstellar space.

Why you should listen

Seeing the unseen (from 26,000 light-years away) is a specialty of UCLA astronomer Andrea Ghez. From the highest and coldest mountaintop of Hawaii, home of the Keck Observatory telescopes, using bleeding-edge deep-space-scrying technology, Ghez handily confirmed 30 years of suspicions of what lies at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy -- a supermassive black hole, which sends its satellite stars spinning in orbits approaching the speed of light.

Ghez received a MacArthur "genius grant" in 2008 for her work in surmounting the limitations of earthbound telescopes. Early in her career, she developed a technique known as speckle imaging, which combined many short exposures from a telescope into one much-crisper image. Lately she's been using adaptive optics to further sharpen our view from here -- and compile evidence of young stars at the center of the universe.

What others say

“Few people know the center of the Milky Way -- some 26,000 light-years from Earth -- as intimately as Andrea Ghez.” — Nova

Andrea Ghez’s TED talks

Andrea Ghez on the TED Blog

TEDGlobal2009

Twitter Snapshot: Andrea Ghez: Spying on supermassive black holes

July 21, 2009

Astronomer and astrophysicist Andrea Ghez captivated the TEDGlobal 2009 crowd with an up-close look at the style and substance of the peculiar space phenomenon known as a black hole. At UCLA, she’s working on imaging techniques that will bring these mysterious objects into better focus than ever before. Here’s what Twitter had to say: you’ve […]

Continue reading
TEDGlobal2009

Andrea Ghez at TEDGlobal 2009: Running notes from Session 2

July 21, 2009

Andrea Ghez is an astronomer and a specialist in black holes. She begins her talk today by asking: How do you observe something you can’t see? It’s a basic question for someone studying black holes. Then, she asks an even more intriguing question: Is there a supermassive one at the center of our gravity? Ghez […]

Continue reading