Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Space

Mystery object appears near Milky Way’s monster black hole

Mystery object appears near Milky Way's monster black hole 1

A mystery object at the center of the galaxy has astronomers scratching their heads, and a new piece of information won’t be solving the case before the New Year.

In yet another twist to a saga of astronomical proportions, astronomers have identified what they say is a gas cloud that made a tight orbit around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy 13 years ago. The object could be one in a series of gas clouds, the second of which may soon become a snack for the black hole.

The newly discovered object has been dubbed G1. An object known as G2 has been in the news for more than a year, ever since astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany hypothesized that it was a gas cloud. If that is true, it should lose some of its material to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way (known as Sagittarius A* or Sgr A*). This giant black hole — its name is pronounced Sagittarius A(star) — doesn’t dine on material often, so the event would be a rare chance for astronomers to watch a black hole eat.

While the scientists at Max Planck contend that G2 is a gas cloud, a group of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, led by astrophysicist Andrea Ghez, argue that G2 is more likely a star surrounded by a layer of dust and gas. Over the summer, G2 made its closest approach to the black hole and was not torn apart. Ghez and her group argued that this was a knockout punch for the gas cloud theory — clear evidence that G2 is a solid body.

g1-and-g2-orbits
Using a combination of simulation and high-resolution images, researchers at the Max Planck Institute concluded that the G1 object (blue) would have taken a path very similar to the G2 object (red) around the super massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy (marked with an “x”).
Credit: Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics

But the researchers at the Max Planck institute countered with an explanation for how G2 could have remained intact even if it is a gas cloud. Their theory incorporates the idea that G2 was once part of a larger gas cloud that subsequently broke up into smaller gas clouds that all follow the same path, like beads on a string. This “beading” of gas has been observed in the universe before. If additional clouds of gas could be identified following the same path as G2, that would strongly indicate that G2 is a gas cloud and not a star, the scientists say.

In their newest paper, the Max Planck group provides a computer model that retraces the path of G1. According to their research, G1 followed a path nearly identical to G2. The model does make certain assumptions about G1’s motion — for example, that it decelerated near closest approach to the black hole.

“The good agreement of the model with the data renders the idea that G1 and G2 are part of the same gas streamer highly plausible,” Stefan Gillessen, a co-author on the new research, said a statement.

The new study was first published on the online preprint journal arXiv.org and has been accepted to the Astrophysical Journal.

Source

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Comments

You May Also Like

Space

According to the latest big data research and analysis, human beings may already be the last civilization in the universe, because the first civilization appeared as early as...

Space

An international team of researchers, using complex computer models powered by artificial intelligence, has created the family tree of the Milky Way. Scientists said that the...

Space

Astronomer Michelle Kunimoto from the University of British Columbia (Canada) found out that up to six billion planets resembling the Earth and potentially suitable...

Space

Why is the galaxy curved? Scientists received an unexpected answer: because it is affected by another star system, which will soon collide with ours. Details...

Space

Every day we are faced with compression in one form or another. When we squeeze water out of a sponge, pack a suitcase before...

Space

The Milky Way is fraught with many mysteries. Recently, one more was added. Chinese astronomers have a discovered a black hole in our galaxy,...

Space

THE SUPERMASSIVE black hole at the centre of the Milky Way exploded 3.5million years ago, according to astronomers. This is considered to be ‘astonishingly...

Space

A study of the small galaxies swallowed by our nearest large galactic neighbor has revealed something of how galaxies grow. In the process, it...

Advertisement