Images - Science


These images are available for Professional and Educational use and may be freely used. However, it is requested that any use of this work be reported to UCLA Galactic Center Group and given the following acknowledgement:

   "These images/animations were created by Prof. Andrea Ghez and her research team at UCLA and are from data sets obtained with the W. M. Keck Telescopes."

References and Credit: UCLA Galactic Center Group - W.M. Keck Observatory Laser Team


Stellar Orbits in the Central Arcsec

The orbits of stars within the central 1.0 X 1.0 arcseconds of our Galaxy. In the background, the central portion of a diffraction-limited image taken in 2016 is displayed. While every star in this image has been seen to move over the past 17 years, estimates of orbital parameters are best constrained for stars that have been observed through at least one turning point of their orbit. The annual average positions for these stars are plotted as colored dots, which have increasing color saturation with time. Also plotted are the best fitting simultaneous orbital solutions.

3-D edge-on Stellar Orbits, edge-on.

3-D edge-on Stellar Orbits, face-on.

Stills from 3D Movie of Stellar Orbits in the Central Parsec

Still images from a 3-dimensional visualization movie of the stellar orbits (edge-on and face-on) in the Galactic center based on data obtained by the W. M. Keck Telescopes between 1995 and 2012, made by U. of Illinois NCSA Advanced Visualization Laboratory . These stellar orbits have revealed that the existence of a supermassive black hole 4 million times the mass of the sun lies at the center of the Galaxy ~25,000 light years away from us. The movie can be viewed on the Animations Page.

astrometric positions

Astrometric positions and orbital fits

Astrometric positions and orbital fits for 8 stars, within the central 0."8 x 0."8 of the Galaxy that show significant deviation from linear motion.


3 colored Laser Guide Star Images of the the Galactic Center

Three HKL-band color mosaic of the central 10” x 10” galactic center region. Color Scheme: H(1.8 microns) = Blue, K'(2.2 microns) = Green, L'(3.8 microns) = Red. Young stars are marked with a red cross. Taken with the Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics System at the W. M. Keck Observatory.


Combined 2 panel image of 10” x 10” and 1” x 1”.

Left: same images as above. Right: Zommed in to 1 arc second.


K’ (2.1 micron) and L’ (3.8 micron) two-color image.

Exposures at 3.8 and 2.1 micron wavelengths, assigned a color, then combined to make a false-color image.

so 102

Zoomed in on S0-2 and S0-102

The stars with shortest orbital periods (p) in the central region. S0-2: p = ∼16 years and S0-102: p = ∼11.5 years.


He I (1.43 micron) and K_continuum (2.29 micron) two-color mosaic image.

Central Stellar region. The image is created from five pointings of the telescope in each filter. The LGS-AO system allowed the artificial guide star to be centered on each pointing during each exposure.