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Axios Science – July 25, 2019

Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is always cosmic trials in the near and far. It is a testament to the ingenuity and scientific and technical progress of the physicist.

But also physicists want that general relativity does not pass a test Einstein and Newton's equations can not – the creation of the universe or what happens in a black hole.

The News: Andrea Ghez and her colleagues today report in Science about this light from a star (called S0-2) located near the supermassive black hole in the center of the [MilkyWayisaffectedasEinstein'stheorypredicts

  • The new work complements the GRAVITY collaboration at the European Southern Observatory. [19659008] Both teams relied on detailed measurements of the star's 16-year orbit – Ghez helped in 1995 with the first measurement – to detect the effects of gravity out to 120 astronomical units of the black hole – about three times the distance between our Sun and Pluto.

Details: Using historical data for the orbit of the star, the teams took measurements of the light from the star as it passed the black hole. They found it was redder because, as predicted, it lost energy due to gravity through the black hole.

  • In the new study, the researchers reported that the general theory of relativity is 43,000 times more likely than Newtonian physics to describe the observations.

Researchers welcome the new study – the accuracy of the measurements, the patience of the company and the investigation it opened. Einstein's continued success, however, is a challenge for the field.

  • "One of the problems we have is that Einstein's theory keeps testing, and we know it can not be the full story," he tells Geraint Lewis, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Sydney ,
  • "It's exciting and disappointing at the same time."
  • The equations of Einstein and Newton are correct – under certain conditions.
  • The search for a comprehensive construct to describe the universe, which would include the physics of Newton and Einstein, says Zoltan Haiman, a theoretical physicist at Columbia University.

What's Next: The researchers know the details of the S0-2 path and want to track the star to see if its orbit predicts itself as predicted by the General Theory of Relativity experiments that involve perform even powerful tests that may not apply to various aspects of Einstein's theory.

  • "It has been tested in so many different ways that any deviation would be surprising right now," says Tuan Do, a researcher at UCLA who helped lead the study with Ghez.

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