Astronomers Spot Unprecedented Flashes From Our Galaxy's Black Hole

Astronomers Spot Unprecedented Flashes From Our Galaxy's Black Hole

While this is nothing to worry about - Sagittarius A* is roughly 26,000 light years away from us - it is an exciting mystery for astronomers to resolve.

This phenomenon is what allowed astronomers to take the first-ever picture of a black hole earlier this year, which showed a bright accretion disc surrounding a dark core.

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

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

Now that that fact is out of the way, let's talk about the supermassive black hole exploding with brightness.

One of the biggest observing campaigns ever performed by Chandra has provided new understanding into why gas near the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way is extraordinarily faint in X-rays.

There are several other possibilities which could explain the celestial light show - including the possibility that everything we thought we knew about black holes is wrong. He tweeted a condensed time-lapse of the flash. They said that other telescopes observing the black hole could have helpful data to find out if this activity is more than usual and how long it could last. These outbreaks caused by the release of radiation from a black hole.

But on three of the four nights they observed it in near infrared, which is the most effective way to see variability in the black hole, astronomers noticed "unprecedented" changes. And scientists can't say definitively what caused the flash.

The other possibility according to Tuan Do, is the star S0-2, which had passed close to the black Hole past year, it may have changed the way gas flows into the Back Hole, so more gas is falling on it, leading it to become more variable, as per the report.

The light that can be seen in the video is actually from the gas and dust swirling around the black hole, and not the black hole itself.

The researchers observed the black hole for four nights in May using an infrared camera at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Another working theory is the flash was caused by G2, a gas cloud which also recently passed close (36 light-hours) to the black hole in 2014. It was later termed as a "cosmic fizzle", however, the astronomers feel that the glowing of the black hole in May might have been a delayed reaction. Suddenly, the Sagittarius A* grew 75 times brighter, before going back to its normal brightness shortly. According to the new paper, the recent flare brought Sgr A* to twice the brightness of the highest previous measurement to date. More research could also be used to update models of the regular flux of the black hole's radiation levels. "I'm hoping we can get as much data as we can this year before the region of the sky with Sgr A* gets behind the sun and we won't be able to observe it again until next year".

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