Astronomers Spot Mysterious Flash From Our Galaxy's Supermassive Black Hole

Our galaxy’s supermassive black hole is acting weirder than normal

Our galaxy’s supermassive black hole is acting weirder than normal

The findings of the phenomenon will be published in a yet-to-be-release paper in The Astrophysical Journal Letters and is now available on pre-print journal ArXiv.

The supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* located in the middle of the Milky Way.

Sgr A* grew 75 times brighter as it was spewing out a mysterious flashing burst of energy, and then declined to its normal brightness levels.

You don't usually think of a supermassive black hole as something that can go unnoticed, but many of these interstellar monsters are quite placid. Normally, the brightness of Sgr A* flickers a bit like a candle, varying from minutes to hours. Soon, they are going to start reviewing observations of the supermassive black hole in the Milky Way made by multiple instruments over the last few months, including the Spitzer, Chandra, Swift, and ALMA telescopes.

Scientists say they weren't aware of anything travelling close enough to create that kind of friction, however.

Less than one per cent of the material initially within the black hole's gravitational influence reaches the event horizon, or point of no return, because much of it is ejected.

According to the ScienceAlert report, there are two immediate possibilities, one is G2, which is thought to be a gas cloud, which approached within 36 light-hours of Sgr A* in 2014. If it was a gas cloud, this proximity should have torn it to shreds, and parts of it devoured by the black hole - yet nothing happened. This scientists were especially interested in a star orbiting close to the galactic centre called SO-2.

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Here's a timelapse of images over 2.5 hr from May from @keckobservatory of the supermassive black hole Sgr A*.

Supermassive black holes are incredibly dense areas in the centre of galaxies with masses that can be billions of times that of the sun. It made its closest approach yet a year ago, coming within 17 light hours of the event horizon.

Owing to the existence of sophisticated technology and a culmination of brilliant and intuitive minds yearning to piece together this cosmic mystery, black holes are widely monitored with everything about them being recorded, studied and documented.

"One of the possibilities", Do told ScienceAlert, "is that the star S0-2, when it passed close to the black hole previous year, changed the way gas flows into the black hole, and so more gas is falling on it, leading it to become more variable".

However, the only way to find out is by having more data, which is being collected across a larger range of wavelengths. They are now being collected, across a larger range of wavelengths.

There are only a few weeks left before the black hole will be visible from the Keck Observatory. The data may reveal different aspects of physics of the change in brightness, and help us understand what is happening to Sgr A*.

"I'm eagerly awaiting their results", Do said.

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