In the center of the Milky Way resides Sagittarius A* a supermassive black hole, which is up to four times bigger in comparison to the Sun. The sheer size of the objects confers it a massive gravitational influence that can be observed by looking at nearby stars.
The supermassive black hole is orbited by a a number of objects, with some being quite elusive. These objects are tied in an inescapable orbit and move at an incredibly fast pace, with the fastest one being discovered recently by a team of researchers.
A team of researchers decided to learn more about the object which surrounds Sagittarius A*. Previous research inferred that there are many stars that move around the black hole at a high velocity while also following unusual orbits. These stars are known as S-Stars.
With the help images collected, the Very Large Telescope, which is located in Chile, the team found five new stars that were tracked and classified. Their stars prove that there is a distinct population of stars that move around the supermassive black hole at distances, which are on par with the size of our solar system.
Fastest of its kind
One of the stars, S4711, completes a full orbit around the supermassive black hole once every 7.6 years, breaking the previous record of 9.9 years. Another one, S4711, has been classified as the fastest known star, as it travels at a speed of 15,000 miles (or 24,000 kilometers).
At this speed, the star would be able to complete a full orbit around Earth once every 1.5 seconds. By studying S-Stars, astronomers and physicists have gathered important evidence related to the theory of general relativity formulated by Albert Einstein, with an S2 star adhering to its principles.
More information can be found in a paper published in a scientific journal.