Earth at 16,000 mph, 2,000 light years closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

The Earth reached a speed of 7 km / h (~ 16,000 mi), close to the miracle of 2,000 light years. Dungeon In the middle Milky Way Galaxy. But don’t worry, this does not mean that our planet is moving towards the black hole. Instead, the changes are the result of a better model of the Milky Way based on new observational data, including a list of objects observed for more than 15 years by the Japanese radio astronomy program VERA.

VERA (VLBI Study of Radioastrometry, VLBI stands for Longest Baseline Interferometry) began in 2000 to map three-dimensional velocities and spatial structures in the Milky Way. VERA uses a technique called interferometry to combine data from radio telescopes scattered across the island of Japan to achieve the same resolution as a 2300 km diameter telescope. Calibration Accuracy The 10 microarcs achieved with this resolution are theoretically sharp enough to resolve a US penny placed on the surface of the moon.

Since the Earth is located inside the Milky Way, we cannot retreat and see what the galaxy looks like from the outside. Astronomy, the precise measurement of the positions and movements of objects, is an important tool for understanding the general structure of the galaxy and our place in it. This year, the first Vera Astrometry list was published with data from 99 objects.

Based on the VERA astrometry checklist and recent observations by other groups, the astronomers developed a position and velocity map. From this map they calculated the center of the galaxy, which orbits everything. The map shows that the center of the galaxy and the wonderful black planet that inhabits it are 25,800 light years from Earth. This is closer to the official value of 27,700 light years accepted by the International Astronomical Union in 1985. The speed component of the map indicates that the Earth is traveling at a speed of 227 km / h while orbiting the galaxy. It is faster than the official value of 220 km / sec.

To better classify the structure and motion of the galaxy, VERA now hopes to observe more objects, especially those closer to the wonderful central black hole. As part of this effort, Vera will participate in EAVN (East Asian VLPI Network) with radio telescopes located in Japan, South Korea and China. By increasing the number of telescopes and maximizing the space between telescopes, EAVN can achieve even greater precision.

“The First VERA Astrometry Catalog” by VERA Collaboration and others. It appeared in August 2020 in publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan.

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