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Astronomers saw a star dancing around a black hole. And it proves Einstein's theory was right

The first evidence that Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity was flawless and correct has made a second appearance, this time around a supermassive black hole. 

In 1915, Einstein discovered that his freshly formulated general theory of relativity clarified a weird characteristic in the orbit of Mercury. At the moment, that same effect has been discovered in a star’s orbit of the gigantic black hole at the center of the Milky Way, scientists with the GRAVITY collaboration announced on April 16 in Astronomy & Astrophysics. 

The star, called S2, is part of a stellar escort that surrounds our galaxy’s central black hole. For many years, researchers have traced S2’s elliptical movement around the black hole. The researchers once used observations of S2 to pinpoint a different effect of general relativity, the reddening of the star’s light due to what’s now called as gravitational redshift (SN: 7/26/18). 

Now, they have explained that the ellipse revolves over time, what’s known as Schwarzschild precession. That precession is the outcome of the warping of spacetime produced by massive objects, according to Einstein’s general relativity. An identical precession in Mercury’s orbit had baffled scientists before Einstein came along (SN: 4/11/18). 

While physicists have never found a occurence where general relativity fails, they are exploring it for any cracks that could help to find a new and improved theory of gravity. The new study confirms that Einstein’s theory rocked once again, even in the severe gravitational environment around a supermassive black hole.

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