The Shortest-Known–Period Star Orbiting Our Galaxy’s Supermassive Black Hole

Science  05 Oct 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6103, pp. 84-87
DOI: 10.1126/science.1225506

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text
As a service to the community, AAAS/Science has made this article free with registration.


Stars with short orbital periods at the center of our Galaxy offer a powerful probe of a supermassive black hole. Over the past 17 years, the W. M. Keck Observatory has been used to image the galactic center at the highest angular resolution possible today. By adding to this data set and advancing methodologies, we have detected S0-102, a star orbiting our Galaxy’s supermassive black hole with a period of just 11.5 years. S0-102 doubles the number of known stars with full phase coverage and periods of less than 20 years. It thereby provides the opportunity, with future measurements, to resolve degeneracies in the parameters describing the central gravitational potential and to test Einstein’s theory of general relativity in an unexplored regime.

View Full Text