New information about the star S0-2 allowed scientists to proceed to the Einstein test. It was previously believed that S0-2 can be double, where the stars revolve around each other. The presence of a partner prevented verification.
However, it was recently found out that the star S0-2 does not have a sufficiently massive neighbor, which could introduce critical interference in the verification of Einstein’s theory. For this discovery I had to obtain spectroscopic measurements of S0-2 using the spectrograph of the Keck Observatory OSIRIS.
The S0-2 orbit (light blue), located near the supermassive black hole of the Milky Way, is used to test the general theory of relativity and create new gravity models.
The general theory of relativity predicts that light from a strong gravitational field is stretched (redshift). Using S0-2, scientists plan to test this theory, because the star is making the closest approach to a supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy.
This is an important event, as previously no one has conducted such measurements. Gravity is considered the least proven force of nature. Einstein's theory passed the rest of the tests, so if a deviation occurs, many questions will arise about the nature of gravity.
Photo Lead author Devin Chu from Hilo (Hawaii) is a graduate student in astronomy in Los Angeles. Conduct research using the Keck Observatory.
Researchers have also received more information about the strange birth of S0-2 and stellar neighbors. Unusually, these stars live so close to a supermassive black hole. The main oddity is that they are too young. Usually such young stars near black holes are hard to find. That is, in the process of forming S0-2 the secret is hidden.
Among the possible explanations is the idea that this is a double star. Because such massive objects usually have a partner. Now scientists are considering other S-stars around a supermassive black hole, in order to understand why S0-2 is a single.