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Earth is 2,000 light years closer to supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy than we thought

A new map of the Milky Way by Japanese space experts has put Earth 2,000 light-years closer to the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy.

This map has suggested that the centre of the Milky Way, and the black hole which sits there, is located 25,800 light-years from Earth.

This is closer than the official value of 27,700 light-years adopted by the International Astronomical Union in 1985, the National Observatory of Japan said.

What’s more, according to the map, our solar system is travelling at 227 kilometres per second as it orbits around the galactic centre — this is faster than the official value of 220 kilometres per second, the release added.

These updated values are a result of more than 15 years of observations by the Japanese radio astronomy project VERA, according to an announcement released Thursday from the National Observatory of Japan.

VERA is short for VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry and refers to the mission’s array of telescopes, which use Very Long Baseline Interferometry to explore the three-dimensional structure of the Milky Way.

The new map suggests that the centre of the Milky Way, and the black hole which sits there, is located 25,800 light-years from Earth. Credit: NAOJ/CNN

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