Earth Closer to Galactic Center than Widely Believed: Japan Team

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, Nov. 26 (Jiji Press)--The Solar System including Earth is closer to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy than widely believed, a Japanese research team has said in a research paper.

The team, led by Tomoya Hirota, assistant professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s Mizusawa VLBI Observatory in Oshu, Iwate Prefecture, estimated the distance to the Galactic Center at around 25,800 light-years.

The estimate is compared with the International Astronomical Union-recommended figure of about 27,700 light-years, which is used in high school textbooks and others.

The team made the estimate by analyzing observation data on a total of 189 celestial bodies, including data from the VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry, or VERA, project, in which four radio telescopes across Japan are used.

The VERA-produced estimate is “highly credible,” Hirota said. “It could have such an impact as rewriting textbooks.”

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