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Superfast star spotted orbiting Milky Way’s black hole

Gravitational close encounter to test relativity theories

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3:18pm, October 4, 2012

If Usain Bolt were a star of the astronomical type he’d be star S0-102, which sprints around the Milky Way’s central black hole with the fastest time yet. It takes just 11.5 years for S0-102 to orbit the supermassive cosmic drain, astronomers report in the Oct. 5 Science.

Not to worry — “it’s not in danger of being sucked in,” says astrophysicist and study coauthor Andrea Ghez of UCLA. “But it is getting close enough that in principle, we can see the impact of the curvature of spacetime on its orbit.”

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