Earth is 2,000 light-years away from the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole than previously thought

New map of the Milky Way created by Japan National Astronomical Observatory It shows that the Earth is spiraling faster and is 2,000 light-years closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy than was previously thought.

In 1985, the International Astronomical Union announced that the Earth was 27,700 light-years away from a black hole, called Sagittarius A *. But a 15-year analysis by the Japanese Radio Astronomy Project VERA found that the Earth is actually only 25,800 light-years away. They also found that the Earth is moving at 7 km / s faster than they previously thought.

Sagittarius A * and similar black holes are called “super mega” for a reason – they are Billions of times from the sun.

But NAOJ said there is no need to worry, because recent data do not indicate that the planet is “heading toward a black hole.” It just means that there is now a “better model of the Milky Way”.

20201126-mizusawa-fig-full.jpg
Map of the location and speed of the Milky Way. The arrows show the position and velocity data for 224 objects that have been used to model the Milky Way. The solid black lines show the positions of the arms of the spiral galaxy. Colors refer to groups of things belonging to the same arm. The background is a simulated image.

NAOJ


Using the VERA Astrometry catalog, the scientists created a map of the location and velocity that marks the center of the Milky Way and the objects within it. The first VERA Astrometry catalog was published this year and includes data on 99 objects.

The positioning indicates that the Earth is orbiting the center of the galaxy, where the black hole is located, at a speed of 227 km / s. Astronomers originally thought the orbit was at 220 km / s.

The association said in a press release: “Because the Earth is located inside the Milky Way, we cannot retreat and see the shape of the galaxy from the outside.” “Astronomy, an accurate measurement of the positions and movements of objects, is a vital tool for understanding the general structure of the galaxy and our place in it.”

VERA, a very long interference exploration for radio astronomy, was established in the year 2000 and uses interferometry to collect data from radio telescopes located throughout Japan. Through the project, scientists can create the same resolution as a telescope with a diameter of 2,300 km, which is “sharp enough in theory to solve a penny of the United States being placed on the surface of the moon,” according to the NAOJ.

NAOJ scientists hope to collect data on more organisms, focusing on those close to Sagittarius A *.

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