School spokesman Jeremy Craig says Misty Bentz received a five-year grant of more than $862,000. Craig says Bentz will use the grant to measure the distance to galaxies where astronomers have pinpointed masses of black holes. Black holes form when stars reach the end of their life, explode and collapse inward from the center.
Bentz says she wants to examine whether she can predict black hole masses in other galaxies, and says distance is one of the most difficult things to measure in astronomy.
Bentz says she is also working in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta to offer astronomy and science education.