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Animation of the Stellar Orbits around the Galactic Center

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Published on Aug 31, 2016

The UCLA Galactic Center Group has been tracking specific stars orbiting the proposed black hole at the center of our Galaxy for 20 years using 2.2 micron images taken at Keck Telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. These stellar orbits, and a simple application of Kepler’s Laws of motion, provide the best evidence yet for a supermassive black hole, which has a mass 4 million times the mass of the Sun. Particularly important is the short period star S0-2, which has been observed for more than a full orbital period (orbital period ~ 16 years) and puts limits on how massive and far away the supermassive black hole is to Earth.

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