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Friday, October 5, 2012

Rapid star will test the theory of relativity

Astronomers have exposed a star that hits record speed, moving around the central black hole (BH) of our Milky Way galaxy at a speed of 5,000 kilometers per second and making a complete rotate in less than 12 years.

This discovery gives scientists a unique opportunity over the next decade to test the theory of relativity in extreme conditions.


Star is called S0-102. It is one of the stars of the S-Class, around the center of our Milky Way galaxy in the form of a spherical shell. Orbital period of S0-102 is 11.5 years. With her ​​around the black hole rotates another star, S0-2, the period of which a little more than a period S0-102, and is 16 years old.

The presence of two stars with small orbital periods will allow astronomers to estimate precession (change in the spatial orientation) of their orbits over time, and using this information to estimate how much the huge black hole gravity, the mass of which is millions of solar masses, twisted its surrounding space.

"We have to get close to the event horizon of the black hole as close as we can," - says Andrea Guez (Andrea Ghez), professor of astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles, and one of the leaders of the research team that discovered S0-102.

Event Horizon - a point of no return beyond which nothing, not even light, cannot escape the black hole.

The new study was presented in the issue of Science on October 5.

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