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Milky Way’s Black Hole Shows Signs:

After the new long-term monitoring, the three-track X-ray space telescope detected an increase in the rate of X-ray bombs from the usual quiet giant black holes from the center of our Milky Way. Scientists are trying to understand whether this is a normal behavior that has been neglected due to limited monitoring, or that these torches are triggered by the close of a mysterious, dusty object. Milky Way’s Black Hole Shows Signs

By combining the information from the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton’s long-term monitoring activities with observations of Swift satellites, astronomers can closely track the activities of the Milky Way’s supermassive black holes over the past 15 years. The weight of the high quality black hole (a.k.a. Sagittarius A *) is slightly higher than the mass of the sun 4 million times. X-rays are generated by hot gas flowing to the black hole. Milky Way’s Black Hole Shows Signs

The new study reveals that Sagittarius A * (Sgr A *) has produced a bright X-ray spot every ten days. However, in the past year, the incidence of bright flares from Sgr A * has increased tenfold, about once a day. This increase occurs shortly after near Sgr A * by a mysterious object G2. Milky Way’s Black Hole Shows Signs

“Over the past few years, we have been tracking the X-ray emission of Sgr A *, which also includes the close passage of this dusty object,” says Gabriele Ponti of the Max Planck Institute for Alien Physics in Germany. “A year ago, we thought it had no effect on Sgr A *, but our new data could not be the possibility of such a new one.

Initially, astronomers thought G2 was an extended gas and dust cloud. However, by the end of 2013 through Sgr A *, its appearance did not change much, except due to the gravity of the black hole and slightly stretched. This leads to a new theory, G2 is not just a gas cloud, but a star in a long dust cocoon. Milky Way’s Black Hole Shows Signs

“There is no general consensus on what is G2,” said Mark Morris, of the University of California at Los Angeles. “However, shortly after G2, Sgr A * became more active. The fact that G2 might lead to a black hole increase. Milky Way’s Black Hole Shows Signs

Although the time of G2 is related to the X-ray fluctuation of Sgr A *, the other black holes that interesting astronomers see seem to behave like Sgr A *. Thus, this increased flutter from Sgr A * may be a common feature in the black hole and is independent of G2. For example, the increased X-ray activity may be due to changes in the intensity of the wind from a large number of stars in the vicinity, which feed the material to the black hole.

“It’s too early now, but we will keep X-ray eyes in Sgr A * in the next few months,” co-author Barbara De Marco, also Max Planck. “Hopefully, the new observation will tell us whether G2 is responsible for changing behavior, or that new burning is only part of the black hole’s behavior. Milky Way’s Black Hole Shows Signs

The analysis included 150 years of Chandra and XMM Newton Observations pointing to the Galaxy Center over the past 15 years, extending from September 1999 to November 2014. The increase in the rate and brightness of the bright flares emitted from Sgr A * occurred in the mid-2014, a few months later closest to the huge black hole of G2.

If the G2’s explanation is correct, the bright X-ray flare’s spike will be the first sign that the excess material falls on the black hole because the cloud is close to the channel. Some gases may have been stripped from the cloud and captured by the gravity of Sgr A *. Then it may begin to interact with the hot material flowing to the black hole, allowing more gas to leak toward the black hole, which can then be consumed by Sgr A *.

The papers on these discoveries have been accepted by the Royal Astronomical Society’s monthly notice. Online pre-printed. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages NASA’s Science Mission in Washington’s Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s scientific and operational operations. Milky Way’s Black Hole Shows Signs

Source: NASA / CXC / MPE / G. Ponti et al.; Illustration: NASA / CXC / M. Weiss

For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/chandra


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