The black hole in the center of the Milky Way hungry

The black hole around which all the stars of our galaxy move is located in the constellation Sagittarius, at a distance of 26 thousand light years from us. Accordingly, all the described events occurred at a time when the ancient Homo sapiens studied the art of sculpture from Denisov’s people. But astronomers usually write “in May”, bearing in mind that the described event in May was observed. Formally, such dating is not correct, but it is simpler and shorter.

So, on May 13 of this year, the substance absorbed by the black hole Sgr A * glowed unusually brightly.

“In the first image that I saw that night, the black hole was so bright that I initially mistook it for the star S0−2 because I had never seen Sagittarius A * so bright, ” says Tuan Do, lead author of the study. “But it quickly became clear that the source should be a black hole and it was really exciting.”

Scientists have analyzed Sgr A * observations over the past 23 years. It turned out that the brightness of the object, recorded in May this year, is abnormal.

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One possible explanation is that when the star S0−2 approached the black hole in the summer of 2018, it lost a significant amount of gas, which reached the black hole this year.

Another possibility is related to a bizarre object known as G2, which is most likely a binary star. This object was approaching a black hole in 2014 and it is likely that this was also accompanied by the loss of significant masses of stellar matter.

Finally, the third explanation is that Sgr A * “had a bite” with some asteroids whose origin is now unclear.

For us, the feast of a black hole is not dangerous. To affect earthly life, its radiation must be about a billion times stronger.

You can read the details in two articles published in The Astrophysical Journal, here and here.

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