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Strange Objects Found Near Supermassive Black Hole That’s Eating Everything

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 16 Jan 2020 15:03
Strange Objects Found Near Supermassive Black Hole That's Eating EverythingStrange Objects Found Near Supermassive Black Hole That's Eating EverythingAnna Ciurlo/Tuan Do/UCLA Galactic Centre Group

Several ‘strange objects’ have been found near a supermassive black hole that has apparently been eating everything. 

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According to scientists, the unusual objects ‘look like gas and behave like stars’, which look compact most of the time.

It was reported the black hole at the centre of our galaxy, Sagittarius A*, was eating a lot and making unexpected changes.

It’s 26,000 light years from Earth, but it’s the closest black hole we can see, even if it’s largely obscured by dust.

Strange Objects Found Near Supermassive Black Hole That's Eating EverythingStrange Objects Found Near Supermassive Black Hole That's Eating EverythingPexels
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An object was first observed back in 2005, but four more have recently been discovered.

Why is this important, I hear you ask? I don’t know, but study co-author Andrea Ghez, the UCLA’s Lauren B. Leichtman and Professor of Astrophysics and director of the UCLA Galactic Center Group Arthur E. Levine sure do.

In the study, published in the journal Nature yesterday, January 15, Ghez wrote: 

Recently, two unusual objects have been found to be closely orbiting Sagittarius A*: the so-called G sources, G1 and G2. […]

G1 and G2 have generated attention because they appear to be tidally interacting with the supermassive Galactic black hole, possibly enhancing its accretion activity.

No broad consensus has yet been reached concerning their nature: the G objects show the characteristics of gas and dust clouds but display the dynamical properties of stellar-mass objects.

The four new ‘G objects’ discovered by Professor Ghez’s team have very imaginatively been named G3, G4, G5 and G6.

Back in August last year, astronomers discovered bright flashes coming from Sagittarius A*, something perceived as ‘unprecedented’.

It’s thought the reasoning for the bright flashes is because of an increase of the black hole gathering material – in other words, eating more.

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Professor Mark Morris, a co-author of the study, added: 

One of the things that has gotten everyone excited about the G objects is that the stuff that gets pulled off of them by tidal forces as they sweep by the central black hole must inevitably fall into the black hole.

When that happens, it might be able to produce an impressive fireworks show since the material eaten by the black hole will heat up and emit copious radiation before it disappears across the event horizon.

Strange Objects Found Near Supermassive Black Hole That's Eating EverythingStrange Objects Found Near Supermassive Black Hole That's Eating EverythingPexels

Big things seem to been happening in the Milky Way and scientists are frequently learning and discovering new things.

Hopefully we’ll soon learn what Sagittarius A* is actually up to – watch this space…

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Black Hole, galaxy, Milky Way, Sagitarrius A*, Science, Space

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CNN and 2 others
  1. CNN

    'Strange objects' found near Milky Way supermassive black hole

  2. CNN

    Strange objects found near the Milky Way's supermassive black hole

  3. CNN

    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/13/world/milky-way-black-hole-scn-trnd/index.html