Super Massive Black Hole At Galactic Center To Eat Star

Star will slide down curved space into black hole maw

Honolulu Community College
Posted: Mar 20, 2015

Astronomer Dr. Mark H. Slovak used Einstein's theory of general relativity to predict that one of the stars (simply called S02) that is a member of a star cluster orbiting the super massive black hole at the center of our galaxy (labeled Sagittarius A "star" or Sgr A*) will display a pronounced orbital precession, much like the planet Mercury does, as it is the nearest planet to the sun.

Stars, like S02, are moving around Sgr A* at speeds up to 3 million miles per hour. From Kepler's famous third law, precise measurements of the orbital velocities and the positions of bright stars are used to estimate the mass contained within their orbits and it turns out to be 4.6 million times the mass of the Sun. This large mass combined with the tiny size of Sgr A* as seen in radio studies imply that the stars are orbiting around a supermassive black hole.

However, as shown by Mercury's orbit and finally explained using general relativity, not only does Mercury orbit the sun, its orbit also moves in space. This is a relativistic effect due to the increased curvature of spacetime that iMercury experiences as it is the closest planet to the sun and could not be explained using classical Newtonian physics.

Slovak predicts the S02 will show a relativistic "anomalous" precession of 0.78 degrees per century which is nearly 66 times greater than that of Mercury. He has submitted his work to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) which is holding its 2015 General Assembly in August 2015.