Scientists Say Einstein's General Theory Of Relativity Is Right, For Now

It's been over 100 years since Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity. Scientists have been working to prove or disprove the theory for generations, and UCLA professor of physics and astronomy Andrea Ghez says that the iconic theory is starting to fray at the edges.

The biggest test for Einstein's theory is the giant black hole at the center of our galaxy. Ghez and her team say that so far the theory holds up. She did say that "We can absolutely rule out Newton's law of gravity. Our observations are consistent with Einstein's general theory of relativity."

However, Ghez notes that Einstein's theory is showing vulnerability as it can't fully explain the gravity inside the black hole. She says that at some point, we have to move beyond Einstein's theory to a comprehensive theory of gravity that explains what a black hole is.

The general theory of relativity says that what we perceive as gravity arises from the curvature of space and time. Ghez says that the laws of physics and gravity should be valid everywhere in the universe. The researchers are currently one of two groups in the world watching a star called S0-2 make a complete orbit around the black hole.

That complete orbit takes 16 years. Last April, May, and September key data was gathered as the star made its closest approach to the black hole. Ghez says that S0-2 is special because scientists have its orbit in three dimensions. The close approach allowed the team to see if Einstein's theory holds true by looking at how gravity behaves near a supermassive black hole. Newton's version of gravity was ruled out because his theory says a co-mingling of space and time near the black hole can't happen; Einstein's theory allows for co-mingling, matching the observations.