Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Einstein’s Theory put to the test

Just recently a star that is orbiting around a Black Hole is moving at an incredible speed. A speed that is rarely seen, given the conditions. A particle star is orbiting around our central Galactic Black Hole that sits in the middle of our galaxy, known as the Sgr A*, A super Massive Black Hole. An intense Black Hole with the mass of 4 million suns with the equivalent mass of 1 of those Suns equal to our own. This star that was newly discovered, which is known as the S0-102 would be able to give an opportunity to allow the Einsteinian Theory of Relativity to be put to the test.

With the theory, it is predicted that the mass of an object is able to distort time and space. Known only as space-time, a fabric that is ever present in the universe and that these objects with high mass and density are able to distort and slow time down, also can even stretch and shrink the distances in the space-time continuum. The Super Massive Black Hole that is in the centre of our galaxy (Sgr A*) has really high mass, and is the lynch pin of our galaxy and allows out galaxy to work properly. There are reports and data to show that there are stars a couple of light years away from our galaxy centre in our galaxies centre, though the centre of the galaxy known as the most violent and extreme 
environment in our galaxy currently, leading with its high level of starts making the zone very dense.
Stars that would be close to the Super Massive Black Hole are actually traveling around 4,000 Kps (Kilometres per second). This seems like an amazing speed. A speed almost unimaginable, but with relative to the speed of light (The cosmological speed limit) we are only talking about 1% that of the speed of light, these planets and stars are travelling at a fraction of the speed of light.

Fig.1: Object Star Orbiting around the SMBH very qucikly
Credit: Keck, UCLA Galactic Center Group

Currently objects that are currently orbiting around the SMBH are in a motion called precession, a special formation that takes place when going around high mass objects. This for the most part is able to be calculated with using the Theory of Relativity but for this instant it is proving difficult since the object themselves are going through a different type of precession that is hard to calculate and it is proving difficult to differentiate between the two types.

The particular objects known as the S0-102 was detected at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, using the twin-mounted 10 meter telescope, equipped with laser guiding technology and adaptive optics which all allow for distortions to be corrected which could happen due to the earth’s atmosphere.
Currently the work is still in progress. But this event will unlikely cause any serious damage to the heralded theory conjured up by one of our greatest scientists in history. A theory that has stood against the elements for over half a century.


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