Next Meeting Presentation

6 April 2017 Next Presentation

an Astronomy Guest Speaker Series Event – a collaboration of the Astronomy Club of Asheville and UNC Asheville

Thursday night, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. – In the Manheimer Room at the lower level of the Reuter Center on the UNC Asheville campus. This meeting is free and open to the general public.

Lt. James Toomey, United States Coast Guard Academy – “Observing the Heart of the Milky Way: The Galactic Center Radio Arc”




Radio wavelength studies of the center of the Milky Way have been conducted for over half a century. Despite a wealth of observations, the energetic interactions occurring near the heart of our galaxy are still poorly understood.

A peculiar structure discovered in our Milky Way center, now known as the Galactic Center Radio Arc, formed as a result of intense gravitational fields, rapid star formation and the potential influence by dark matter. Using the Very Large Array, an interferometer composed of 27 radio telescopes, a multi-frequency, spectro-polarimetric analysis was completed.

This study provided the most sensitive data of the region in nearly 30 years, enhancing our understanding of the dynamic nature of these filamentary gas structures. Lt. Toomey will discuss the Galactic Center Radio Arc, its interaction with the supermassive black hole in the middle of our Milky Way, and what this tells us about our galaxy’s past and future.