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A star orbiting a supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way moves in a way that was predicted by physicist Albert Einstein more than a century ago, astronomers have found.
The orbit of the star, called S2, is shaped like a rosette, which is supported by Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
S2 orbits the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, which is 26,000 light years from the Sun, once every 16 years.
The findings, published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, are a result of 27 years of observations of the star using a range of instruments, including the European Space Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, located in the Atacama Desert in Chile.
Reinhard Genzel, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Germany and the architect of the program, said the first evidence of general relativity was seen in the orbit of Mercury around the Sun.
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