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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Earth found to be closer to a supermassive black hole than previously thought

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A new three-dimensional map of the Milky Way, drawn up by a team of Japanese astrophysicists, shows that our planet is located about 2,000 light-years closer to the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, located in the center of the galaxy, than was believed.

However, this does not mean that the Earth is at risk of being eaten by the black hole. It is simply a more accurate model based on data that has been collected by the VERA project researchers over the past 15 years. 

The study authors used so-called VERA (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) Exploration of Radio Astrometryto calculate the location and velocity of 99 specific points in our galaxy and determine the exact location of the Milky Way. As a result, they concluded that the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A * is located at a distance of only 25,800 light-years from our planet, almost 2,000 light-years closer than previously thought.

Japanese astrophysicists also discovered that the Earth is moving faster than previously thought: it turns out that it orbits the center of the galaxy at a speed of 227 kilometers per second. According to previous studies, our planet moves at an average speed of 200 kilometers per second.

Now, the researchers plan to improve the accuracy of the model using data obtained by the East Asian VLBI Network telescopes, located in Japan, South Korea and China.

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