A star in a 15.2-year orbit around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle     


Article Info

DATE

2002-10

AUTHORS

R. Schödel, T. Ott, R. Genzel, R. Hofmann, M. Lehnert, A. Eckart, N. Mouawad, T. Alexander, M. J. Reid, R. Lenzen, M. Hartung, F. Lacombe, D. Rouan, E. Gendron, G. Rousset, A.-M. Lagrange, W. Brandner, N. Ageorges, C. Lidman, A. F. M. Moorwood, J. Spyromilio, N. Hubin, K. M. Menten

ABSTRACT

Many galaxies are thought to have supermassive black holes at their centres1—more than a million times the mass of the Sun. Measurements of stellar velocities2,3,4,5,6,7 and the discovery of variable X-ray emission8 have provided strong evidence in favour of such a black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, but have hitherto been unable to rule out conclusively the presence of alternative concentrations of mass. Here we report ten years of high-resolution astrometric imaging that allows us to trace two-thirds of the orbit of the star currently closest to the compact radio source (and massive black-hole candidate) Sagittarius A*. The observations, which include both pericentre and apocentre passages, show that the star is on a bound, highly elliptical keplerian orbit around Sgr A*, with an orbital period of 15.2 years and a pericentre distance of only 17 light hours. The orbit with the best fit to the observations requires a central point mass of (3.7 ± 1.5) × 106 solar masses (M⊙). The data no longer allow for a central mass composed of a dense cluster of dark stellar objects or a ball of massive, degenerate fermions. More... »

PAGES

694-696

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1038/nature01121

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature01121

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1046861824

PUBMED

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12384690


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