Einstein’s theory of general relativity had actually changed physics permanently, in a time when humankind had much fewer devices for checking out the world (concerning a century back). Isaac Newton defined gravity as an unnoticeable pressure that made items draw in each other, but Einstein specified that points are much more complicated than that: gravity imitates bending of spacetime. The even more substantial an item is, the more it buckles the spacetime around it.
Space and time have to be viewed as a whole, considering that a person can not exist without another. Astronomers currently recognized that the supermassive great void Sagittarius A from the center of our Galaxy galaxy has numerous stars orbiting around it, but one certain celebrity captured their attention.
“General relativity predicts that bound orbits of one object around another are not closed, as in Newtonian gravity, but precess forwards in the plane of motion,” said Reinhard Genzel, director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany. “This famous effect—first seen in the orbit of the planet Mercury around the Sun—was the first evidence in favor of general relativity. One hundred years later we have now detected the same effect in the motion of a star orbiting the compact radio source Sagittarius A* (SagA*) at the center of the Milky Way.”
For the study scientists followed the movements of S2, which orbits Sgr A*, for over 27 years using the ESO’s Very Large Telescope, an all-seeing cosmic eye located in the Atacama Desert of Chile.
“After following the star in its orbit for over two and a half decades, our exquisite measurements robustly detect S2’s Schwarzschild precession in its path around Sagittarius A*,” said researchers.
A Schwarzchild precession is a type of orbit presented in Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. It describes one cosmic object drift around another in an orbit “shaped like a rosette” because of the very strong gravitational pull and bending of spacetime.
The new study was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.