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Aspen Public Radio is proud to present select lectures, discussions, and conversations from area events and festivals, thanks to a remarkable collection of community partners. Click here to view the full archive. Events are recorded at no cost to the partner and archived here online; select recordings are broadcast on Aspen Public Radio Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Aspen Center for Physics: Touring a Super Massive Black Hole with Daryl Haggard

This event was recorded on July 20, 2022 at Aspen Center for Physics during the 2022 Heinz R. Pagels Physics Talks, in partnership with Aspen Public Radio.

It's been a fantastic decade for black hole studies, highlighted by the 2017 and 2020 Nobel Prizes in Physics. Multiple Galactic Center research groups, the Event Horizon Telescope, and LIGO/Virgo continue to bring rapid-fire new observations to sharpen our understanding of these exotic objects.

This lecture discusses the amazing new Event Horizon Telescope image of the Galactic Center black hole, Sgr A*. It describes its unique variability and puts it in the context of other time domain phenomena in the Galactic Center, traced out over more than 20 years of observations from coordinated multi-wavelength campaigns.

Daryl Haggard seeks to compare these detailed studies of Sgr A* to equally impressive multi-wavelength observations of M87*. She explores how we can continue to push the frontiers of black hole research with existing and next-generation observatories.

To see and listen to the second sonic of the black hole at the center of the milky way click here.

To see and listen to the first sonic heard in this lecture of Sagittarius A Star Event Horizon Image click here.


Daryl Haggard is an American astronomer and Associate Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics at McGill University and the McGill Space Institute. Her research has been highlighted by the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars Award in the Gravity and the Extreme Universe Program, and a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Multi-messenger Astrophysics. In 2017, she led a team that used the Chandra X-ray Observatory to detect the afterglow of the merger of two neutron stars, GW170817, the first detection of X-rays from a gravitational wave source.

She is currently a member of the Canadian Joint Committee on Space Astronomy, the Event Horizon Telescope Multiwavelength Coordination Team and the Thirty Meter Telescope International Science Development Team. Haggard had also served on the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Governance Task Force, was the editor of the AASWOMEN Newsletter and was elected a member of the AAS High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) Executive Committee.