Sgr A$^*$: a laboratory to measure the central black hole and cluster parameters

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics

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in press on PASP, 2007

Scientific paper

Several stars orbit around a black hole candidate of mass $3.7\times 10^6$ M$_{\odot}$, in the region of the Galactic Center (GC). Looking for General Relativistic (GR) periastron shifts is limited by the existence of a stellar cluster around the black hole that would modify the orbits due to classical effects that might mask the GR effect. Only if one knows the cluster parameters (its mass and core radius) it is possible to unequivocally deduce the GR effects expected and then test them. In this paper it is shown that the observation of the proper motion of Sgr A$^*$, $v_{Sgr A^*} = (0.4\pm 0.9)$ km s$^{-1}$ (\citealt{reid2004}), could help us to constrain the cluster parameters significantly and that future measurements of the periastron shifts for at least three stars may adequately determine the cluster parameters and the mass of the black hole.

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