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Dafey

Supermassive Black Hole Has Emitted a Mysteriously Bright Flare

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Dafey
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The supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*, is relatively quiet. It's not an active nucleus, spewing light and heat into the space around it; most of the time, the black hole's activity is low key, with minimal fluctuations in its brightness.

Most of the time. Recently, astronomers caught it going absolutely bananas, suddenly growing 75 times brighter before subsiding back to normal levels. That's the brightest we've ever seen Sgr A* in near-infrared wavelengths.

"I was pretty surprised at first and then very excited," astronomer Tuan Do of the University of California Los Angeles told ScienceAlert.

"The black hole was so bright I at first mistook it for the star S0-2, because I had never seen Sgr A* that bright. Over the next few frames, though, it was clear the source was variable and had to be the black hole. I knew almost right away there was probably something interesting going on with the black hole."

But what? That's what astronomers are on a mission to find out. Their findings so far are currently in press with The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Do and his team took observations of the galactic centre using the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii over four nights earlier this year. The strange brightening took place on May 13, and the team managed to capture it in a timelapse, two hours condensed down to a few seconds.

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

The only way to find out is having more data. They are currently being collected, across a larger range of wavelengths. More observations will take place over the coming weeks with the ground-based Keck Observatory before the galactic centre is no longer visible at night from Earth.

But many other telescopes - including Spitzer, Chandra, Swift and ALMA - were observing the galactic centre over the last few months, too. Their data could reveal different aspects of the physics of the change in brightness, and help us understand what Sgr A* is up to.

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

https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/technology/our-galaxys-supermassive-black-hole-has-emitted-a-mysteriously-bright-flare/ar-AAFHhkB?ocid=spartandhp

 

 

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Goetz1965

Buuurrrrpp

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RogerDuMond

Here is the gif from the tweet from Do

1999103433_blackhole.gif.bf41253b844358594a29c74f8ee380c3.gif

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HeyMike

Something probably came through the black hole.

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