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Search for a Variation of the Fine Structure Constant around the Supermassive Black Hole in Our Galactic Center.

  • Author(s): Hees, A
  • Do, T
  • Roberts, BM
  • Ghez, AM
  • Nishiyama, S
  • Bentley, RO
  • Gautam, AK
  • Jia, S
  • Kara, T
  • Lu, JR
  • Saida, H
  • Sakai, S
  • Takahashi, M
  • Takamori, Y
  • et al.

Searching for space-time variations of the constants of Nature is a promising way to search for new physics beyond general relativity and the standard model motivated by unification theories and models of dark matter and dark energy. We propose a new way to search for a variation of the fine-structure constant using measurements of late-type evolved giant stars from the S star cluster orbiting the supermassive black hole in our Galactic Center. A measurement of the difference between distinct absorption lines (with different sensitivity to the fine structure constant) from a star leads to a direct estimate of a variation of the fine structure constant between the star's location and Earth. Using spectroscopic measurements of five stars, we obtain a constraint on the relative variation of the fine structure constant below 10^{-5}. This is the first time a varying constant of nature is searched for around a black hole and in a high gravitational potential. This analysis shows new ways the monitoring of stars in the Galactic Center can be used to probe fundamental physics.

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