Einstein's theory has passed a serious test
The basic laws of physics, coming from the pen of Sir Isaac Newton in the 17th century, do not work in all cases. One has only to apply them to very quickly, almost the speed of light moving objects or things heavier stars, and then that they give up the slack. It is in these cases comes to the extended theory of motion and gravitation - Einstein's general theory of relativity. The theory of relativity works very well. This is evidenced by the proven predictions made almost 100 years later. But the question is: whether it be good?
To find out, a team of scientists has used a set of data collected over 20 years by various telescopes, to look like around Sagittarius A *, the center of our Milky Way, which is a suspected black hole, rotating three specific stars. On the basis of the obtained data, they have created a very serious screening test for the general theory of relativity.
"Who is this test can be considered a test of consistency. We have checked the data, which had expected to receive in accordance with the theory of relativity, and found very clear signs of the expected answer, "- says study author Andreas Eckart.
Scientists like Einstein developed his theory to explain what they can not understand. As soon as there is a new theory, the scientists are trying to create testable predictions for it on the basis of its checks. To further test the researchers must either make sure that these predictions really real as the same gravitational waves, which were predicted almost one hundred years ago and were actually discovered in 2016, or to try to disprove its worth, applying the theory in the most difficult cases, like the one we are talking about today. The team collected data from several key studies and surveys conducted by the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the stars S2, S38 and S55 / S0-102. Objects revolve around Sagittarius A *, the supermassive black hole, presumably with a mass four million times the mass of the Sun and located at the center of our galaxy. The researchers were able to compare the data on the orbits of these objects with mathematical values predicted by Einstein's theory. The results will soon be published in a scientific journal Astrophysical Journal.
In the study, minor differences in the star's motion S2 were found. It is only 1/6 degrees with respect to the position of the predicted orbit and only a few percent of its form. Nevertheless, these differences are consistent with the predicted theory of relativistic effects. Thus, we can say that this is the first time that scientists had checked the effects of general relativity theory for stars orbiting a supermassive black hole.
However, on the final conclusions of the talk is not necessary. Despite the amount of data collected over two decades, scientists have been able to inspect only three stars, while noting the great uncertainty in the calculation of their value. In other words, there are still many potential opportunities to prove that Einstein was wrong.
"To check whether there are any omissions, it is necessary to achieve significant improvement in the signal / noise ratio. Will it to some distortion of the results, I can not say yet, "- says Eckart.
The researchers believe that the measurement of these stars can be performed in other experiments to verify the accuracy of the theory of relativity. Despite the weakness of the captured signals, scientists hope to collect additional data to help improve the result. Despite this, some third-party scientists believe that an important step has been taken already.
"From my point of view, this work is amazing that tries to test the theory of gravity in those conditions, in which up to this very little carried out inspections," - says Tessa Baker, a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University.
It agrees that in the center of the galaxy can be many factors that may somewhat distort the measurements, but believes that "the team played a very serious and comprehensive work on the collection and verification of data." And she'd love to see what changes in the general theory of relativity may appear in these measurements.