By Matthew Hankins
Paper: SOFIA/FORCAST Galactic Center Legacy Survey: Overview
Hankins et al., 2020, ApJ.
SOFIA’s first completed legacy program provides researchers with a vastly improved view of warm dust in the center of the Galaxy, revealing signatures of star formation in exquisite detail.
By Kassandra Bell and Joan Schmelz
Supermassive black holes exist at the center of most galaxies, and our Milky Way is no exception. But many other galaxies have highly active black holes, meaning a lot of material is falling into them, emitting high-energy radiation in this “feeding” process. The Milky Way’s central black hole, on the other hand, is relatively quiet. New observations from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, are helping scientists understand the differences between active and quiet black holes.