Scientists have been able to indirectly calculate the mass of a nearby star, using the curvature caused by its gravity in the light of another distant star, which so far has been predicted only theoretically. The achievement once again confirms the validity of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity just over a century after its publication.
The researchers, led by astronomer Kailas Sahu, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, who published the journal Science, used the Hubble Space Telescope to gravitate the mass of a white dwarf, the nearby star Stein 2051 B , Found to “weigh” about 68% of our Sun.
One of the basic predictions of Einstein’s theory is that the curvature of space near a large mass object (such as a star) causes curvature and the light that passes by.
When a nearby star interposes between a distant star and the observer on earth, the gravity of the first star acts as a light for the light of the second and causes the phenomenon of the so-called “gravitational microfuge”. This results in a perfect cycle of light, also known as the “Einstein Ring”.
The first proof of the bend of light in space – and of Einstein’s vindication – was in 1919 as part of a total solar eclipse. But until now there have been two stars outside our solar system and at different distances from earth to create an “Einstein ring”.
This was done for the first time and allowed the mass of one of the two nearest stars to be calculated. In this case, the alignment of the two stars was not complete and thus the “Einstein ring” was slightly asymmetrical.