Earth is closer to a supermassive black hole and it is orbiting the Galactic Center of the Milky Way 141 miles per second faster than earlier thought, new data shows.
The data was first projected in 1985 by the International Astronomical Union, but the Japanese radio astronomy project VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA) has been probing the distance and speed for 15 years to create a more accurate model.
VERA comprises radio telescopes across Japan that allow astronomers to collect data. It is a Very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) array that explores the 3-D structure of the Milky Way Galaxy based on high-precision astrometry of Galactic maser sources. It was launched in 2000 to calculate the distance to radio-emitting stars by analyzing their parallax.
The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), in a statement, said because Earth is located inside the Milky Way Galaxy, they cannot step back and see what the Galaxy looks like from the outside. The organisation believes that astrometry, accurate measurement of the positions and motions of objects, is a vital tool to understand the overall structure of the Galaxy and our place in it.
They further mentioned how the first VERA Astrometry Catalog was published containing data for 99 objects. Astronomers constructed a position and velocity map based on the VERA astrometry catalog and recent observations by other groups.
The team of scientists then calculated the center of the Galaxy, the point around which everything revolves to start the map. Once the map was made, they were able to determine the center of the Galaxy, which is home to Sagittarius A, the supermassive black hole located 25,800 light-years from Earth.
The velocity component of the map indicated that Earth is travelling at 141 miles per second as it orbits around the Galactic Center. The latest numbers show that Earth is moving faster than the previous value of 136 miles per hour.