Connect with us

Space

Our Galaxy’s Black Hole Suddenly Lit Up and Nobody Knows Why

In May, the supermassive black hole at the core of the Milky Way became 75 times brighter in just two hours.

The supermassive black hole that lives at the center of our galaxy has been mysteriously sparkling as of late, and nobody knows the reason.

This dark behemoth, known as as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), is four million times as massive as the Sun. Though no light escapes its boundaries, astronomers can observe the hole’s interactions with bright stars or dust clouds that surround it.

On the night of May 13, 2019, UCLA astronomer Tuan Do and his colleagues were watching Sgr A* using the Keck Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawai’i. In a period of just two hours, they witnessed the black hole become 75 times brighter in the near-infrared band of the light spectrum.

That spring evening, the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole “reached much brighter flux levels in 2019 than ever measured at near-infrared wavelengths,” according to a forthcoming studyled by Do and published on the arXiv preprint server.

“The brightness of Sgr A* varies all the time, getting brighter and fainter on the timescale of minutes to hours—it basically flickers like a candle,” Do said in an email. “We think that something unusual might be happening this year because the black hole seems to vary in brightness more, reaching brighter levels than we’ve ever seen in the past.”

The peak flux, meaning the most luminous phase of the flare-up, soared to “twice the maximum historical flux measurements,” Do’s team said in the study. In other words, in the 20 years since astronomers have monitored Sgr A*, the next-brightest event has only been half as dazzling as this one.

This unusual sparkle at the galactic core was likely caused by close encounters between Sgr A* and objects surrounding it, according to the team.

The edge of a black hole, called an event horizon, is shaped by intense tidal forces that tear at anything that gets close. Once a black hole starts devouring nearby objects like stars or gas clouds, infalling material heats up at the event horizon, sparking light shows that can be picked up by telescopes.

Do and his colleagues speculate that a star called S0-2, which is about 15 times as massive as the Sun, may have been the object that juiced Sgr A*. In 2018, S0-2 came within 17 light hours of the supermassive black hole, and that close pass may have disturbed gases at the event horizon enough to cause the May 2019 brightening event.

This composite image shows the motion of the dusty cloud G2 as it closes in on, and then passes, the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. These new observations with ESO’s VLT have shown that the cloud appears to have survived its close encounter with the black hole and remains a compact object that is not significantly extended. In this image the position of the cloud in the years 2006, 2010, 2012 and February and September 2014 are shown, from left to right. The blobs have been colourised to show the motion of the cloud, red indicated that the object is receding and blue approaching. The cross marks the position of the supermassive black hole.

Another possible culprit is a dust cloud known as G2, which passed about 36 light hours from Sgr A* in 2014. Scientists predicted that G2 would be torn apart by the hole, but the results were ultimately described as disappointing and “boring” for astronomers.

That initial letdown may have been premature, though, because we might be seeing the slow-burn “delayed reaction” to the gas cloud’s approach, the team said.

“Many astronomers are observing Sgr A* this summer,” Do noted. “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.”

“Maybe the black hole is waking up—there’s a lot we don’t know at this point so we need more data to understand if what we are seeing is a big change in what is feeding the black hole or this is a brief event,” he said.

Source www.vice.com

Comments

Space

NASA published pictures of two giant asteroids

NASA published an amazing image of two giant asteroids traveling in the asteroid belt, both of which are larger than some of the cities in the world.

The American Space Agency shared a snapshot that tracks the movement of the large asteroids Lina and Klotho, located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The Lina is about 37 miles (60 km) in diameter and has more than 2,000 days in orbit around the Sun. Klotho is slightly larger, having 50.9 miles (82 km) in diameter and has a 1596-day orbit around our main star.

NASA observed space rocks using the NEOWISE telescope. He also states on his official website:

“appearing as rows of orange dots, the brightest sets of dots belong to the asteroids of Klotho and Lina. Both rotate in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, while smaller and more distant asteroids can also be seen on this image ”

These space objects were photographed by NEOWISE as part of the Wise mission (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) asteroid hunting project. 

Cosmic stones within the asteroid belt supposedly pose almost no danger to the Earth, due to the role that Jupiter plays in the solar system. The giant planet has such a powerful gravitational attraction that it actually helps to keep the asteroid belt in place, so objects do not travel throughout the system.

If Jupiter did not use its gravitational pull on these objects in the belt, the inner planets would be constantly at risk of collisions with large asteroids.

“The presence of Jupiter actually protects Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars from repeated collisions with asteroids!”, The NASA statement said.

The probability of a major asteroid colliding with the Earth is one in 300,000 chance. However, such a prospect is possible, NASA says.

Continue Reading

Space

A “Meteorite” falls in Nigeria destroying more than 100 houses and leaving a huge crater

On the morning of Saturday 28 March 2020, a large meteorite crashed in Akure (Nigeria), destroying more than 100 houses and leaving a 21-meter crater on the ground. Experts from the Awbaowo University of Obafemi (Nigeria) denied the local police who initially claimed that a bomb explosion had created the 21-meter crater.

According to Nigerian sources, the explosion destroyed the Akure-OVO road and seriously damaged dozens of houses, from 50 to 100, as well as schools and churches.

It is interesting that initially the authorities denied the meteorite’s fall and claimed that the cause for the explosion was a truck with explosives, which was transported to a neighboring state. Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said the blast was an accident.

Then the version changed and the truck was no longer just transporting explosives, but it was supposedly a terrorist act.

Now, a team of experts and scientists came to the conclusion that everything that happened was a fall of a large meteorite.

The blast that shook Akure, the state capital of Ondo, on Saturday, was caused by a giant cosmic rock, a team of experts concluded.

Led by Adepelumi Adekunle, a professor of geophysics and seismic engineering at Obafemi Avolovo University, the team said that the meteorite entered the atmosphere of our planet at a “43 degree angle”.

Adepelumi Adekunle’s report reads:

“My research team conducted a detailed analysis of the impact site. A round impact crater was discovered with a diameter of 21 m and a depth of 7.8 m, which indicates a natural phenomenon.

– It was found that water is oozing from the edges of the crater. Preliminary field studies of vibration, noise, seismicity, analysis of water, radioactivity, rocks and soil were carried out.

“Our findings suggest that the impact of the explosion covers a radius of 1 km from the vicinity of the crater.” No signs of fire or burning were found in the vicinity. “

“No signs of radioactive radiation were found within the crater and in the immediate vicinity of it. Field data indicate that a meteorite from the asteroid belt was moving at high speed from space, and fell at an angle of 43 degrees in the southwestern part of the country “

A local source said that after the incident, no one was missing and no one was killed. The most interesting thing in the report is the mention that “unusual stones and strange metal objects” were found inside the crater. So what actually fell in Nigeria – a meteorite or a UFO?

Continue Reading

Space

Something strange is happening with the interstellar comet 2I / Borisov

When astronomers see something in the Universe that at first glance seems to be one of a kind, this will certainly cause great excitement and attention.

This mysterious guest from the depths of space first attracted the attention of celestial observers at the end of August 2019, when it was officially discovered sweeping through the solar system along a trajectory indicating interstellar origin.

After analyzing the object, astronomers identified it as a comet called Comet 21 / Borisov, which is the first identified comet and the second observable interstellar alien after the infamous Oumuamua, who arrived here from another star.

NASA claims that they do not know where and when the comet began to move towards our Sun. Gravity of the Sun slightly deflects its trajectory, but cannot capture it due to the shape of the orbit and its high speed of about 160,934 km / h.

Hubble showed that the comet’s heart, a loose accumulation of ice and dust particles, was probably no more than 975 meters across, about the length of nine football fields.

Now, this month, astronomers have discovered that something strange is happening by checking the object.

In the next video, nemesis maturity explains what happens to this mysterious interstellar guest.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

DO NOT MISS

Trending