Astronomers at UCLA have discovered something said to be crucial to revealing the fabric of space and time around a black hole. The astronomers have reported the discovery of a star that orbits an enormous black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The star orbits the black hole in 11 1/2 years.
The scientists say that the orbit time of 11 1/2 years makes the star’s orbit the shortest known of any star near the black hole. The star in question is called S0-102, and scientists hope that it could help them determine whether Einstein was correct in the fundamental predictions of how black holes are able to warp space and time. Before discovering the star, astronomers knew of only one other start with a very short orbit near the black hole.
That other star is called S0-2 and has an orbit that takes 16 years to go all the way around the black hole. Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicts that mass distorts space and time and slows down the flow of time and stretchers or shrinks distances. According to the scientists as the stars approach their closest distance to the black hole; their motion will be affected by the curvature of space-time.
The light traveling from the stars to us will be distorted due to the effect on their motion. Star S0-2 is said to be 15 times brighter than the newly discovered S0-102. S0-2 will make its closest approach to the black hole in 2018.