[AGN, Quasars, Black Holes -- Invited ]

Revelations in our own backyard: Chandra's unique Galactic center discoveries

Sera Markoff, Astronomical Institute "Anton Pannekoek", University of Amsterdam

Before the launch of Chandra, our Galactic center supermassive black hole, Sgr A*, had never been positively identified outside the radio bands. A great deal has changed in the last decade, starting with the discovery that our own backyard harbors a very weak, yet clearly active, galactic nucleus. I will review how this revelation has been a boon for accretion studies around black holes in general, and has helped us place our own Galaxy in context with the AGN zoology. While the focus of my talk will be on this topic, I will also touch on how Chandra's exquisite resolution has unveiled active star formation, entirely new populations of faint sources and transients, as well as extreme gas dynamics and hints of prior, more typical AGN-like activity in our Galactic center.