You learned in school that the black hole sucks in everything around it. The black hole is like Charlie Sheen's nostrils. No mere particles of matter, no matter how dense and Chris Christie-like, can resist this force.
Well, UCLA this week announced that it has found the little star that could.
All of you must bow down to this little choo-choo train in space:
Researchers on the Westwood campus gave it the absolutely adorable name of S0-102. The research, co-authored by UCLA professor of physics and astronomy Andrea Ghez, is being published today in the journal Science.
This little Tom Cruise of a planet, says UCLA …
… orbits the enormous black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy in a blistering 11-and-a-half years — the shortest known orbit of any star near this black hole.
It's actually one of two stars that have been found to be orbiting the hole like John Travolta buzzing around a men's spa. (The other is named S0-2). UCLA:
Black holes, which form out of the collapse of matter, have such high density that nothing can escape their gravitational pull, not even light. They cannot be seen directly, but their influence on nearby stars is visible and provides a signature, said Ghez, a 2008 MacArthur Fellow.
The presence of these little resisters will test Einstein's theories on how black holes stretch space and time. Ghez, who says her research shows that black holes are “not as hostile” to stars as we thought (insert joke about possibly closeted Hollywood celeb here), says:
Today, Einstein is in every iPhone, because the GPS system would not work without his theory. What we want to find out is, would your phone also work so close to a black hole? The newly discovered star puts us in a position to answer that question in the future.
The fact that we can find stars that are so close to the black hole is phenomenal. Now it's a whole new ballgame …