Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures Present

Free Public Talk on the Monster Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way

Wed Jan 25
Smithwick Theatre
7 to 8:30 pm
Lectures, News, Education


On Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017 at 7 pm, Dr. Andrea Ghez of UCLA will give a free, illustrated, non-technical talk on:

“The Monster Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way”

in the Smithwick Theater at Foothill College, in Los Altos.
The talk is part of the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series, now in its 17th year.

By measuring the rapid orbits of the stars near the center of our galaxy, Dr. Ghez and her colleagues have moved the case for a supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way from a possibility to a certainty. Improvement in the techniques with which astronomers can take images with the world’s largest telescopes are expanding their ability to use the orbits of stars near black holes to describe the properties of these places where gravity overwhelms everything. Dr. Ghez will report on her pioneering measurements and some of the unexpected results her team has been finding. This work is providing insight into how black holes grow and the role that they play in regulating the growth of their host galaxies.

Andrea M. Ghez, Professor of Physics & Astronomy and Chair in Astrophysics at UCL:A, is one of the world’s leading experts in observational astrophysics and heads UCLA’s Galactic Center Group. She has received numerous honors and awards including the Crafoord Prize in Astronomy from the Royal Swedish Academy of Science (she is the first woman to receive a Crafoord prize in any field), Bakerian Medal from the Royal Society of London, a MacArthur Fellowship, election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She is very committed to the communication of science to the general public and inspiring young girls into science. Her work can be found in many public outlets, including TED talks, NOVA’s Monster of the Milky Way, and Discovery’s Swallowed by a Black Hole.

Foothill College is just off the El Monte Road exit from Freeway 280 in Los Altos. For directions and parking information, see:
For a campus map, see:

The lecture is co-sponsored by:
* The SETI Institute
* The Astronomical Society of the Pacific
* NASA Ames Research Center
* The Foothill College Astronomy Program.

We get large crowds for these talks, so we ask people to try to arrive a little bit early to find parking. The lecture is free, but there is a charge of $3 for parking on campus and exact change is appreciated.

Past lectures in the series can be found on YouTube at

More Info




  1. Smithwick Theatre
    Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos, CA