US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Sagittarius A * , a supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way, is not particularly active in comparison with similar objects in the centers of many other galaxies. However, in recent years, the turbulent, intensely radiating surroundings of Sagittarius A * seem to be gaining strength. Matter falling into the bowels of a black hole emits powerful flashes from time to time, and over time they become brighter.
This is explained by a new article accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics and presented in the online preprint library ArXiv.org.
The astrophysicist from the University of Liege, Emmanuelle Mossoux and his colleagues from Belgium and France, have been monitoring the activity of Sagittarius A * for many years. In 2017, they published the results of an analysis of x-ray radiation from a black hole, collected in 1999-2015 by XMM-Newton, Chandra and Swift space telescopes. During this period, they recorded a total of 107 outbreaks, the intensity of which since 2014 began to increase.
A new work by Massot and his co-authors traces this trend further. Now they evaluated the data obtained by the same instruments between 2016 and 2018, when another 14 X-ray flashes of Sagittarius A * were recorded. Their analysis showed that the number and intensity of the weakest flashes during this time did not change, but the brightest ones became more powerful and more frequent. This increase in activity is also found in the near infrared range.
The authors conducted a preliminary analysis of data for 2019. According to them, the observations of the Swift telescope recorded as many as four bright flashes – an unprecedented amount over such a period. The XMM Newton and Chandra data for 2019 are still being prepared for publication, and they will make it possible to clarify what is happening near Sagittarius A. “Since 2014, the activity of Sagittarius A has been growing at several wavelengths,” the astronomers summarize. “Additional observations will confirm this unprecedented activity of a supermassive black hole and find out its source.”
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