Confirmed Bachelor Star Will Test Einsteins Theory

first_imgLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target Source 2 is single and ready to mingle test Einstein’s theory of general relativity.Previously believed to be part of a binary system where two stars circle each other, S0-2 is a confirmed bachelor.According to a recent study published in The Astrophysical Journal, the celestial body does not have a significant other. (At least, not one big enough to interfere with critical measurements.)“Stars as massive as S0-2 almost always have a binary companion,” Tuan Do, deputy director of UCLA’s Galactic Center Group, said in a statement.Sixteen years in the making, a team of researchers made their discovery using spectroscopic measurements of S0-2, collected from the W. M. Keck Observatory’s OH-Suppressing Infrared Imaging Spectrograph (OSIRIS) and Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics.“This is the first study to investigate S0-2 as a spectroscopic binary,” lead analyst Devin Chu, an astronomy graduate student with the Galactic Center Group, said. “It’s incredibly rewarding. This study gives us confidence that an S0-2 binary system will not significantly affect our ability to measure gravitational redshift.”The breakthrough allows astronomers to test special theory or relativity: What we perceive as the force of gravity, in fact, arises from the curvature of space and time.Einstein predicted that light coming from a strong gravitational field gets stretched out, or “redshifted.”Researchers hope to directly measure this phenomenon in the spring, when the star approaches a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way—where it is expected to be pulled at maximum gravitational strength.“It will be the first measurement of its kind,” co-author Do said.“Gravity is the least well-tested of the forces of nature. Einstein’s theory has passed all other tests with flying colors,” he continued. “So if there are deviations measured, it would certainly raise lots of questions about the nature of gravity.”“We are so anxious to see how the star will behave under the black hole’s violent pull,” Chu added. “Will S0-2 follow Einstein’s theory or will the star defy our current laws of physics? We will soon find out.”This study also sheds light on the birth of S0-2 and its S-Star Cluster neighbors—young, hot stars that exist so close to a supermassive black hole.“S0-2 is a very special and puzzling star,” Chu said, suggesting it “must have formed a different way.”The Galactic Center Group plans to study other S-Stars in hopes of explaining why S0-2 is single.center_img NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendHubble Captures Saturn’s ‘Phonograph Record’ Ring System last_img read more