It seems the land was out of place.
According to a new map of the Milky Way, the position of the Solar System is not where we thought it was. Not only is it closer to the center of the galaxy – and its massive hole in it, Sagittarius A * – it is spinning faster in segment.
Nothing to worry about; We’re not actually close to Sgr A *, and we’re not in danger of being scammed. Instead, our map of the Milky Way has been modified, so that it more accurately determines where we have been at all times.
And the survey beautifully illustrates how difficult it is to map a galaxy in three dimensions from within.
It is a problem that has long embraced our understanding of space phenomena. It’s relatively easy to map the two-dimensional coordinates of stars and other cosmic objects, but it’s very difficult to know the distances to those objects.
And distances matter – they help us determine the intrinsic brightness of objects. A good recent example is the red giant Betelgeous Gemini, Which turned out to be closer to the ground than previous measurements suggested. This means that it is neither as big nor as bright as we thought.
Another is the CK Vulpeculae object, which is a star that exploded 350 years ago. It is actually much further away, which means that the explosion was much brighter and more energetic, and requires a new interpretation, as previous analyzes were performed on the assumption that it was relatively low-energy.
But we are getting better at calculating those distances, through surveys that use the best available techniques and methods that are working hard to improve our 3D maps of the Milky Way, an area known as Astronomy measurement. And one of those is Vera Radio Astronomy Survey, Conducted by the Japanese cooperation VERA.
VERA stands for VLBI (Very Long Basic Interferometry) for radio astronomy exploration, uses a number of radio telescopes across the Japanese archipelago, and combines its data to produce the same resolution as the 2,300 km (1,430 miles) telescope. Diameter dish. It’s the same principle behind the Event Horizon Telescope that produced our first live image of a black hole’s shadow.
VERA, which began monitoring in 2000, is designed to help us calculate distances to radio emitting stars by calculating their difference. Thanks to their incredible resolution, they have been observing these stars for more than a year, observing how their position relative to distant stars changes frequently as the Earth orbits around the sun.
This change of location can then be used to calculate the distance between the star and the Earth, but not all parallax observations are created equal. VLBI can produce high resolution images; VERA has an astounding angle accuracy of 10 millionths of an arcsecond, which is expected to produce extraordinarily high-resolution astronomical measurements.
This is what astronomers have used to improve the position of our solar system in the Milky Way. Based on the first The VERA Astrometry Catalog Of the 99 objects released earlier this year, along with other observations, astronomers have created a position and velocity map for those objects.
From this map, they calculated the location of the galactic center.
In 1985, the International Astronomical Union defined the distance to the galactic center as 27,700 light-years. Last year, the GRAVITY collaboration reinstated their account and found it closer, only 26,673 light years.
Measurements based on VERA bring it closer to only 25,800 light years away. The orbital speed of the solar system is also faster – 227 kilometers (141 miles) per second, rather than the official speed of 220 kilometers (137 miles) per second.
This change might not sound like much, but it could have an effect on how we measure and interpret activity at the center of the galaxy – and hopefully, it ultimately leads to a more accurate picture of the complex interactions around Sgr A *.
Meanwhile, VERA’s collaboration is forging ahead. Not only is he continuing to make observations of objects in the Milky Way, he is also joining a larger project, which is VLBI East Asia Network. Astronomers hope that together, the telescopes participating in this project will provide measurements of unprecedented accuracy.
The Vera Astrometry catalog has been published at Publications of the Japanese Astronomical Society.