Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Astro-Image of the Day: Milky Way’s Central Black Hole Awakens

Using imagery from a variety of X-ray satellites, a team of Japanese astronomers created this image and announced that a massive flare erupted from our galaxy’s central black hole 300 years ago. "The black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, is a certified monster, containing about 4 million times the mass of our Sun. Yet the energy radiated from its surroundings is billions of times weaker than the radiation emitted from central black holes in other galaxies.

"'We have wondered why the Milky Way’s black hole appears to be a slumbering giant,' says team leader Tatsuya Inui of Kyoto University in Japan. 'But now we realize that the black hole was far more active in the past. Perhaps it’s just resting after a major outburst.'"

Click the image to see the story.

A black hole 4 million times the mass of our Sun. That thar's a derned big monster. Imagine the flare it must have launched.

Tags: astronomy

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