A star orbits the Milky Way’s black hole at 18 million miles per hour

A star orbits the Milky Way's black hole at 18 million miles per hour
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A recently discovered star, now named S4716, is traveling around the black hole at the center of our galaxy at a mind-blowing speed of 5,000 miles (8,000 km) per second, the Milky Way. reported.

The vast expanse of our universe means that astronomers always find something they’ve never seen before. Earlier this week, astronomers two bus-sized asteroids We are heading towards Earth, which will pass at a distance of only a quarter of that separating the Moon from us.

Besides asteroids, our galaxy is of particular interest to astronomers looking for signs of other life-supporting planets. However, at the very center of the Milky Way, there is a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A* or Sgr A*, and S4716 is swirling around this black hole at a furious speed.

What we know about the S4716

We know from observations so far that S4716 is the fastest star orbiting Sgr A*, at 5,000 miles (8,000 km) per second, or 18 million miles (29 million km) per hour. It completes an orbit of 14.6 million (23.5 million km) in diameter. black holes in just four years.

S4716 is part of another dense group of stars that astronomers refer to as the S cluster, which also orbits Sgr A*. All the stars in this cluster move at high speeds, but differ in mass and luminosity. Another star in this cluster, known as S2, is more popular and much larger than S4716.

However, S2’s orbit around the black hole takes 16 years and is as close as 11 billion miles (18 billion km) from Sgr A*. In contrast, S4716 is approaching 9.2 billion miles (150 million km) from the black hole, which is about 100 times the distance between Earth and the Sun.

The discovery of a star this close to a black hole could change our understanding of the evolution of our galaxy and its fast-moving stars. “S4716’s short-duration, compact orbit is quite confusing,” said Michael Zajaček, an astrophysicist at Masaryk University. Declaration. “stars It cannot form so easily near a black hole. S4716, for example, had to move inward, approaching other stars and objects in the S cluster, causing its orbit to shrink considerably.”

How did astronomers detect the fastest star?

While S2 helps us understand more details about Sgr A*, it has its downsides. “The S2 behaves like a big person sitting in front of you in a movie theater – blocking your view of what’s important. This is why the view of the center of our galaxy is often obscured by S2,” they said Florian Peissker, an astrophysicist from the University of Cologne, who took part in this research, said in a statement.

Peissker and his team used the following data: five telescopes, NIR2 and OSIRIS at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii and at the SINFONI, NACO and GRAVITY Very Large Telescopes have developed their analytical techniques for more than two decades to confirm the orbital period of S4716. “It was completely unexpected for a star to be in such a close and fast stable orbit near a supermassive black hole,” Peissker added.

Research published Journal of Astrophysics.


Continued monitoring of the galactic center and its central supermassive black hole, Sgr A*, produces surprising and unexpected findings. This goes hand in hand with the technical evolution of ground- and space-based telescopes and instruments, as well as the advancement of image filtering techniques such as the Lucy-Richardson algorithm. As we continue to track members of the S cluster near Sgr A* on their expected orbits around the supermassive black hole, we present the finding of a new star source we call S4716. The newly found star orbits Sgr A* in about 4.0 years and can be detected by NIRC2 (Keck), OSIRIS (Keck), SINFONI (VLT), NACO (VLT) and GRAVITY (VLTI). With a periaps distance of about 100 au, S4716 shows an equivalent distance from S4711 to Sgr A*. These fast-moving stars undergo a similar dynamic evolution as S4711-S4716 share comparable orbital characteristics. We will make a connection between the latest finding of a new faint star called S300 and the data presented here. Additionally, in 2017 we observed a blend-star event with S4716 and another newly identified S star, S148.

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