Tonight we saddle up to explore the extreme center of our Milky Way galaxy - one of the wildest sections of the outer-space frontier. Our Galactic center is a chaotic region containing dense gas, stars, and the biggest bully around these parts: a supermassive black hole. The normal rules for star formation don’t apply here and understanding why will help us to understand star formation throughout the rest of our wild universe.
Cara Battersby is a Submillimeter Array (SMA) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Her main focus is understanding the formation of massive stars and star clusters throughout our Galaxy and in the extreme environment at the center of our Galaxy. Currently, she is leading a large-scale survey of the dense molecular gas in the center of our Galaxy to investigate why (if!) it's not forming as many stars as we think it should.