You might have heard about Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. A new activity of a star captured by astronomers proves the same. A star orbiting the supermassive black hole of our Milky Way Galaxy was observed creating a dancing pattern that projects towards the general theory of relativity by Einstien.
The Journal of Astronomy & Astrophysics published the study on Thursday stating that the observations of this dancing star were prepared using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile’s the Atacama Desert. The organization also mentioned that the star’s orbit is shaped like a rosette.
As per the theory of Isaac Newton, the orbit of the plant would look like an ellipse, but it was a rosette shape which indicates the exitance of Einstein’s theory of relativity.
“Einstein’s General Relativity predicts that bound orbits of one object around another are not closed, as in Newtonian Gravity, but precess forwards in the plane of motion. This famous effect — first seen in the orbit of the planet Mercury around the Sun — was the first evidence in favor of General Relativity,” co-author Reinhard Genzel said in a press release.
“One hundred years later we have now detected the same effect in the motion of a star orbiting the compact radio source Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way,” he continued. “This observational breakthrough strengthens the evidence that Sagittarius A* must be a supermassive black hole of 4 million times the mass of the Sun.”
Director of Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Reinhard Genzel has also led a program that demonstrated this result.
“This famous effect — first seen in the orbit of the planet Mercury around the Sun — was the first evidence in favor of general relativity,” Genzel said. “One hundred years later we have now detected the same effect in the motion of a star orbiting the compact radio source Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way. This observational breakthrough strengthens the evidence that Sagittarius A* must be a supermassive black hole of 4 million times the mass of the sun.”
Plenty of stars can be found near a black hole and most recently the star known as S2 has moved closer to the black hole and that too within less than 20 billion kilometers. And S2 is the closest stars to be found orbiting the black hole.
“After following the star in its orbit for over two and a half decades, our exquisite measurements robustly detect S2’s Schwarzschild precession in its path around Sagittarius A*,” said Stefan Gillessen, who led the analysis of the measurements at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics.
This is also true that orbits of any stars are not the perfect circles as they move closer in or further away during the rotation. And the same was observed in the case of S2, as it’s the closest approach to the black hole changes every time and results in a rosette shape. And hence the theory of general relativity predicts how much that orbit changes.
This research doesn’t only provides the confirmation of Einstein’s theory, it also provides crucial data about the surroundings of Sagittarius A*.
“Because the S2 measurements follow General Relativity so well, we can set stringent limits on how much invisible material, such as distributed dark matter or possible smaller black holes, is present around Sagittarius A*. This is of great interest for understanding the formation and evolution of supermassive black holes,” said lead scientists Guy Perrin and Karine Perraut.
The team of astrophysics is expecting to see the more close orbital motion of these stars around the supermassive black hole.
“If we are lucky, we might capture stars close enough that they actually feel the rotation, the spin, of the black hole,” co-author Andreas Eckart from Cologne University said.
Sagittarius A* – The supermassive black hole
The giant black hole in the center of our Milky Way galaxy is called the Sagittarius A*. This massive black hole is surrounded by plenty of orbiting stars in against its mammoth gravitational pull. In the year 2018, a paper announced the confirmation of this massive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. And now this Sagittarius A* is helping the astronomers to define Einstein’s theory of relativity in space. Sagittarius A* is 26,000 light-years from the sun.
What is Newton’s law of universal gravitation?
According to Newton’s law of universal gravitation, every mass attracts each other’s mass in the universe. And the gravitational force between the two bodies is proportional to the product of their masses while inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
Objects like planets and stars act as a sphere in the universe. Assuming that their mass is concentrated at their center hence the distance between two objects should be their radius.