The Galactic Center Group's research is carried out primarily using Keck Observatory Telescopes. In addition, group members are heavily involved with the designing of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Image courtesy of Laurie Hatch ©

Keck Observatory - Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Our primary location for observing the SgrA* and the environs of the central galactic region is at the Keck Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. For over two decades, we have been using the 10m Keck I and Keck II telescopes, mapping the orbits of objects within one parsec of the Galactic center. Our science have greatly benefited from the Adaptive Optics (AO) the Keck telescopes have been equipped with since year 2000 (P.L. Wizinowich et al. 2000), which allows a telescope to reach its diffraction limit (i.e. the telescope's 'full potential') and produce high resolution images. We predominantly use the OSIRIS (a diffraction limited integral infrared spectrograph) and the near IR imager NIRC2 at Keck II to acheive our high-resolution images. Both the NIRC2 and OSIRIS instruments were co-developed/built/designed by the UCLA IR-Laboratory.

Artist's photo illustration. Courtesy TMT International Observatory ©

TMT - The Thirty Meter Telescope at the Mauna Kea Summit

The Galactic Center Group members will have access to the future 30m telescope, which is currently being built and is expecting its first light in 2022. UCLA's Division of Astronomy plays an active role in its development and design; Galactic Center Group's Prof. Andrea Ghez serves on the TMT science advisory committee, and Prof. James Larkin is the P.I. of IRIS , which a first generation near-infrared (0.85-2.5 μm) instrument designed to sample the diffraction limit of the TMT.
"The 30-meter aperture permits the telescope to focus more sharply than smaller telescopes by using the power of diffraction of light. The large aperture also collects more light than smaller scopes, allowing images of fainter objects. TMT will therefore reach further and see more clearly than previous telescopes by a factor of 10 to 100 depending on the observation." Read more at


In order to make a comprehensive picture of the Galactic Center region, the Galactic Center Group uses various telescopes spanning a wide range of wavelengths, from X-ray to radio.

Image credit: NRAO/AUI ©

Very Large Array

Image credit: Gemini Observatory ©

Gemini Observatory

Image credit: NASA/HUBBLE ©

Hubble Space Telescope

Image credit: NASA/HUBBLE ©

Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)

Image credit: NASA/CXC/SAOlinkE ©

CHANDRA X-ray Telescope

Image credit: SPITZER/CalTech ©


Image credit: Subaru Telescope ©

Subaru Telescope