After seven long months, I’ve finally been back to beautiful Cologne (a.k.a. Köln). Seeing the Dom again was super exciting and I had to take a picture from the tram while crossing the Rhine. Besides visiting my family, I hung out with friends and collaborators in Cologne – the usual: Palomar 5 over coffee, burgers and tapas with Kölsch and wine. I also gave a talk in the Galactic-Center group of Andreas Eckart at the excellent University of Cologne. The distance from the Sun to the center of our Galaxy that they derive from careful observations of the closest stars around the central super-massive black hole Sgr A* agrees very, very well with the estimate coming from my Palomar 5 modeling. We’re all excited – finding agreement between completely independent methods is highly motivating!

(BTW: the distance is 8.3 kpc, or 26 000 light years.)


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