(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of researchers led by graduate student Alexis Andrés found that the nature of the flares that explode the Sagittarius A * black hole, which lies at the center of our Galaxy, is irregular, not only in the short term, but also in the long term.
The team analyzed a dataset collected over 15 years of observations to arrive at these conclusions.
The Sagittarius A * source emits powerful fluxes of radiation in the radio, X-ray and gamma ranges (radiation in the optical range is blocked by gas and dust lying on the line of sight).
Astronomers have known for decades about outbreaks that cause a source to suddenly brighten 10 to 100 times its normal brightness.
To gain a deeper understanding of these mysterious flares, Andres’ team analyzed a 15-year archive of observations from NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift gamma-ray satellite since 2006.
Analysis showed increased activity from the source Sagittarius A * in the period from 2006 to 2008, after which the activity of the source sharply decreased in the next 4 years.
After 2021, the frequency of outbreaks increased again – and in the end, the researchers were not able to catch the patterns in the appearance of these outbreaks.
In the next few years, the authors plan to continue collecting data to assess the possibility of these irregular outbursts associated with the passage of specific gas clouds or stars, or with some other process that explains the increased or decreased activity of the source.
Based on the results of the current analysis, no such explanations have been found; also failed to confirm the hypothesis about the role of magnetic fields in the gas surrounding this black hole, the authors noted.
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