The Orbits of the Central Stars

In their unique study stretching over 16 years a team of German astronomers used 28 stars at the heart of the Milky Way’s as “test particles”, watching how they move – much like watching leaves caught in a wintry gust – to reveal the nexus of forces at work there. These observations can then be used to infer some important properties of the central black hole itself, such as its mass and distance. The black hole is found to be a little over four million times the mass of the Sun, and located 27 000 light-years from us. This research marks the first time that so many of these central stars have had their orbits measured precisely and reveals information about the characteristics of these stars and how they must have formed.



About the Video

Release date:10 December 2008
Related releases:eso0846
Duration:36 s
Frame rate:30 fps

About the Object



Large QT
5.6 MB


Video Podcast
4.8 MB
Medium MPEG-1
10.7 MB
Medium Flash
5.7 MB


Small Flash
2.7 MB
Small QT
1.7 MB

For Broadcasters