alexa Closest Star Seen Orbiting the Supermassive Black Hole at the Centre of the Milky Way


Journal of Astrophysics & Aerospace Technology

Author(s): R Schodel, T Ott R, Genzel R, Hofmann M

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Measurements of stellar velocities and variable X-ray emission near the centre of the Milky Way have provided the strongest evidence so far that the dark mass concentrations seen in many galactic nuclei are likely supermassive black holes, but have not yet excluded several alternative configurations. Here we report ten years of high resolution astrometric imaging that allow us to trace two thirds of the orbit of the star currently closest to the compact radio source and massive black hole candidate SgrA*. In particular, we have observed both peri- and apocentre passages. Our observations show that the star is on a bound, highly elliptical Keplerian orbit around SgrA*, with an orbital period of 15.2 years and a peri-centre distance of only 17 light hours. The orbital elements require an enclosed point mass of 3.7+-1.5x10^6 solar masses. The data exclude with high confidence that the central dark mass consists of a cluster of astrophysical objects or massive, degenerate fermions, and strongly constrain the central density structure.

This article was published in Astrophys.J and referenced in Journal of Astrophysics & Aerospace Technology

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