Astronomers have observed a small, massive object at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. A ring of material orbits this massive object; the ring has a diameter of about 15 light years and an orbital speed of about 200 km/s.

Observations of stars, as well as theories of the structure of stars, suggest that it is impossible for a single star to have a mass of more than about 50 solar masses. Can this massive object be a single, ordinary star?

Answer:Yes, it can be a single, ordinary star.Explanation:To determine a mass of a star, we use the orbital speed formula, given by: v = [tex]\sqrt{\frac{GM}{R} }[/tex], wherev is the speed;

G is a constant: G = 6.67*[tex]10^{-11}[/tex][tex]\frac{m^{3} }{kg.s^{2} }[/tex]

M is mass of a massive object;

R is the distance between the object orbiting and the massive object;

The formula can be rewritten as:

[tex]M = \frac{v^{2}.R }{G}[/tex]

First, we change R from light years to km:

1km=1.057*[tex]10^{-13}[/tex]

R= [tex]\frac{15}{2*1.057.10^{-13} }[/tex]

Calculating mass:

M = [tex]\frac{2^{2}*10^{4}*14.2*10^{13} }{6.67*10^{-11} }[/tex]

M = 4.25*[tex]10^{28}[/tex] kg

A solar mass is the standard unit of mass. It is approximately 2*[tex]10^{30}[/tex]Kg and can be used for comparison: A single star cannot be more than 50 solar masses.

50 solar masses = 50*2*[tex]10^{30}[/tex] = [tex]10^{32}[/tex] kg

Comparing the mass of the object with this parameter, we have

[tex]\frac{10^{32} }{4.25.10^{28} }[/tex] = 0.235.[tex]10^{4}[/tex] = 2.35.[tex]10^{3}[/tex]

From this, we know that 50 solar masses is greater than the small, massive object found. So, this object can be a single, ordinary star.