Astronomical data gathered over time has gaps. Even the most reliable space telescopes suffer from occasional pauses in their otherwise constant watchfulness. Why are gaps a problem? Can’t astronomers just analyze the short chunks of data that don’t have gaps? The answer: Fourier transforms.
Astronomers at Harvard are working to digitize over 500,000 historic photographic plates obtained between 1985 and 1993. With about ~8% of the plates scanned they are already offering us a unique glimpse into the variability of the universe on a 100 year time scale.
Witzel et. al examine the statistical properties of the photometric variability of our Galaxy’s central black hole.