Analytic Post-Newtonian Astrometric and Spectroscopic Models of Orbits around Black Holes

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Observations of the S stars, the cluster of young stars in the inner 0.1 pc of the Galactic center, have been crucial in providing conclusive evidence for a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. Since some of the stars have orbits less than that of a typical human lifetime, it is possible to observe multiple orbits and test the weak-field regime of general relativity. Current calculations of orbits require relatively slow and expensive computations in order to perform numerical integrations for the position and momentum of each star at each observing time. In this paper, we present a computationally efficient, first-order post-Newtonian model for the astrometric and spectroscopic data gathered for the S stars. We find that future, 30 m class telescopes—and potentially even current large telescopes with very high spectroscopic resolution—may be able to detect the Shapiro effect for an S star in the next decade or so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number35
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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