Take that, Sir Isaac Newton!
Scientists have observed for the first time a star’s light being warped by a supermassive black hole — and they say it backs up Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity while rebuking Newton’s ideas about gravity.
“In sport, you would say it was 1-0 for Einstein,” Frank Eisenhauer of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics told the BBC.
Using giant telescopes, researchers from the institute watched a fast-moving star known as S2 passing through the gravitational field of Sagittarius A*, the massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way that’s around 26,000 light-years from Earth.
They saw that the hole distorted the star’s light waves in a way that’s in line with Einstein’s theory — which says the fabric of the universe is not just space, but the more complex space-time — but not the simpler Newtonian theory of gravity, according to Space.com.