During the next months, a huge star from our galaxy, the Milky Way, will move toward the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy and the astronomers are set to thoroughly observe how the star will behave.
The star has been carefully observed during the last years
Examinations of this star’s trajectory and its movement speed have been conducted over the last years and the astrophysicists were able to accurately predict how the black hole’s huge gravity force will change the orbit of the star.
The star which will pass next to the massive black hole is a B-type star, has been named S2, is at 26,000 light-years away, and it is 15 times bigger than the Sun.
The star is very bright and this fact is only meant to help astronomers better observe the upcoming event.
What does make this star so special?
The S2 star is similar to several billion other stars in our galaxy but there’s something very special about it – the star is orbiting pretty close to the massive black hole situated in the middle of the Milky Way, the renown Sagittarius A.
Sagittarius A is 4 million times larger than the Sun but astronomers don’t know its exact mass. Now, that the S2 star will pass dangerously close to Sagittarius A, the astronomers believe they can measure the exact mass of the supermassive black hole.
According to the scientists’ calculations, the star will be accelerated to more than 6,000 km/h when it will get at only 18 billion kilometers away from Sagittarius A.
Even more, the astronomers are ready to measure the gravitational redshift which characterizes the change in light’s wavelength as a star passes next to a black hole whose immense gravitational force is sucking up the light.
In conclusion, analyzing the star when it passes next to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy is important because the astrophysicists will be able to calculate the star’s orbit deviation, the black hole’s mass, and the immense gravitational force’s effects on the star’s light.