Earth is closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy than we thought

This map indicates that the center of the Milky Way galaxy and the black hole located there are 25,800 light-years from Earth. This is closer than the official value of 27,700 light-years that was adopted by the International Astronomical Union in 1985, the Japan National Observatory said.

Moreover, according to the map, our solar system is traveling at 227 kilometers per second as it orbits the center of the galaxy – that’s faster than the official value of 220 kilometers per second, the statement added.

These updated values ​​are the result of more than 15 years of observations made by the Japanese Radio Astronomy Project VERA, according to Advertising Chest Thursdays from Japan National Observatory. VERA is an acronym for VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry and refers to the mission’s Telescope Group, which uses very long fundamental interferometry to explore the three-dimensional structure of the Milky Way.

Since Earth is located inside the Milky Way, it is difficult to step back and see what the galaxy looks like. To overcome this, the project used astronomical measurement, the accurate measurement of the position and movement of objects, to understand the general structure of the Milky Way and the location of the Earth in it.

The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded for the discoveries of black holes that have revealed
The black hole is known as Sagittarius A * or Sgr A * and is 4.2 million times larger than our sun. The massive hole and massive gravitational field control the orbits of the stars at the center of the Milky Way. Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Gies win the 2020 award Nobel Prize in Physics To discover it. There are several types of black holes, and scientists believe that supermassive holes may be related to the formation of galaxies, because they are often found at the center of massive stellar systems – but it remains unclear exactly how, or which, they form first.

A more refined approach

In August, VERA published its first catalog, containing data on 99 celestial bodies. Based on this catalog and recent observations by other groups, astronomers have created a map of location and velocity. From this map, scientists were able to calculate the center of the galaxy, the point around which everything revolves.

The merging of stars creates the rare Blue Ring Nebula

VERA collects data from four radio telescopes across Japan. The observatory said that when combined with telescopes, they could achieve a solution that in theory would allow astronomers to spot an American coin placed on the moon’s surface.

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The observatory explained that the changes do not mean that the Earth is moving towards a black hole. Instead, the map more precisely identifies where the solar system has been located at all times.

Sacha Woodward

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