When it comes to most topics in life: medicine, nutrition, technology or even social structure our views change and evolve or even become more progressive. We are today learning, because of COVID-19, just how important funding research into super viruses can be to our society not as a nation or a community but on a global scale.
In mid-January while half of America was stressed over a potential conflict with Iran, worrying we may be on the brink of war and possibly dragging the rest of the world along with us, a silent threat was just starting to lurk.
By February their was mounting evidence that we could be facing our first epidemic since the Spanish Flu but there was such a feeling of invincibility in our Nations we were all like that popular feeling of being 12 years old, “It won’t happen to me (us).”
Finally by March realization set in the the world seen something no one would have ever imagined. Everyone hiding inside, hoarding and taking shelter. Not from nuclear threat of a Global Conflict, but from fear of a virus.
I don’t need to need to explain to you what is going on today, just look outside (or inside). It is a perfect example of how we evolve in our viewpoints. Just weeks ago our priorities were not viral research and the potential danger of meeting your neighbor to chat over your rosebush fence. But moving forward the more mention of a novel virus will have everyone on high alert for the next 30 years.
On viewpoint that rarely over the past 100 years has swayed in the slightest, physics. How did Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman and Michael Faraday develop theories that have stood the test of time? Just two months ago we took our son to the science museum and during the electricity demonstration the presenter stood in a Faraday Cage, developed 200 years ago and not a thing has changed.
Is this the result of being a hard science? Don’t ask me I have my education in psychology and criminal statistics.
But all this blabbing has nothing to do with disease or even the year 2020, it was simply to share with you this article on the research of a single star. The 37 year observation of one star to once again prove that Albert Einstein is smarter than we are even by today’s educational brilliance.
Astronomers watch star dance with a black hole, proving Einstein right (again)
Another win for Albert.
By Jackson Ryan
April 16, 2020 3:22 p.m. PT
The mammoth black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A* (or, in short, Sgr A*), is orbited by a veritable buffet of stars which are beholden to its gargantuan gravitational effects. After three decades observing star S2, which orbits Sgr A*, an international collaboration of researchers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have come to a familiar conclusion: Einstein was right, again.
The study, published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics on Thursday, peered into the heart of our home galaxy and followed the movements of S2 over 27 years using the ESO’s Very Large Telescope, an all-seeing cosmic eye located in the Atacama Desert of Chile. S2’s orbit carries it close to the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole and this orbit provides a natural, experimental setting for astronomers to test out Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
That theory dictates how space, time and gravity interact and says huge, dense objects like black holes can warp space around them. When scientists went hunting for an image of a black hole in 2019, Einstein’s predictions about what they might see held true.
S2 swings around Sgr A* once every 16 years and gets quite cozy with the black hole (in astronomical terms), coming within about 12.5 billion miles (20 billion kilometers) — about four times as far as Pluto is from the sun. Even at those distances, the huge gravity of the supermassive black hole keeps S2 spinning back time and again — and for 27 years, ESO astronomers watched. In total, the research team nabbed 330 measurements of the star’s position and velocity.
“After following the star in its orbit for over two and a half decades, our exquisite measurements robustly detect S2’s Schwarzschild precession in its path around Sagittarius A*,” said Stefan Gillessen, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and a co-author on the paper, in a press release.
The work by the ESO team is is the first time this precession has been detected in a star orbiting the Milky Way’s black hole where precession is dominated by Einstein’s theory.
A Schwarzchild precession is an orbit predicted by Einstein’s theory. It sees one cosmic body drift around another in an orbit “shaped like a rosette” because of the extreme gravitational pull and bending of space-time.
Think of it like a clock face. At the center of the clock is a black hole and at the edge, right over the number 1, is a star like S2. As S2 swings into the center of the clock and passes around the black hole, extreme gravity and the curvature of space time rotates its orbit a little. It swings back out to the edge of the clock face, but finds itself positioned over the number “2” at the clock’s edge.
We can see precession in our own solar system — the way Mercury orbits the Sun demonstrates this, but the effects are largely driven by other planets tugging on Mercury. Every year, Mercury strays a little and its orbit rotates around our sun.
The research built on previous observations of S2 conducted by ESO showing how the light from the star shifted as it approached the black hole. This shift was also predicted by Einstein, who now seems impervious to taking an L when it comes to the very theory holding our universe together.
The Very Large Telescope will have some black hole-gazing competition in five years time when the Extremely Large Telescope is expected to be fired up. It’s hoped the team will be able to see stars which are even more faint and closer to the black hole, providing another chance to put Einstein’s theory to the test.
“If we are lucky, we might capture stars close enough that they actually feel the rotation, the spin, of the black hole,” said Andreas Eckart, an astrophysicist at Cologne University and co-author on the paper. “That would be again a completely different level of testing relativity.”
My money’s on Einstein chalking up another win.