AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 24 Galactic Center
Poster, Monday, January 10, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[24.06] The First Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics Observations of the Galactic Center

A. M. Ghez, S. D. Hornstein (UCLA), A. Bouchez, D. Le Mignant (Keck Observatory), J. Lu (UCLA), K. Matthews (Caltech), M. Morris (UCLA), P. Wizinowich (Keck Observatory), E. E. Becklin (UCLA)

We present the first Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics (LGS-AO) observations of the Galactic Center. LGS-AO has dramatically improved the quality and robustness with which high angular resolution images of the Galactic Center can be obtained with the W. M. Keck II 10-meter telescope. Specifically, the Strehl ratios are at least a factor of two higher (0.76 at 3.8 microns) and significantly more stable against atmospheric fluctuations compared the performance of the Keck Natural Guide Star AO system on the Galactic Center. Furthermore, these observations are the first that can cover a large area surrounding the central black hole at diffraction-limited resolution for an 8-10 meter class telescope. These K'(2.2 microns) and L'(3.8 microns) images reveal newly identified extended emission in the vicinity of the central black hole. The extent of this emission is roughly 900 AU, peaks 700 AU from the central black hole, and is the reddest emission in the central 1" x 1". In addition, emission coincident with the central black hole is observed to fade by a factor of two within 8 minutes. Over the larger field of view (80" x 80"), narrow band images present a more complete picture of the young star population. These observations represent an exciting next step in our understanding of the central black hole and its surrounding as well as our technical ability to obtain high angular resolution data.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.astro.ucla.edu/research/galcenter/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ghez@astro.ucla.edu

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© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.