Milky Way’s Black Hole Gets Hungrier
Posted on 15 October 2019
The supersized black hole at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy doesn’t usually cause much of a fuss, but a few months ago, scientists caught it consuming a lot more than it normally does.
A group of astronomers discovered the black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, ‘eating’ a huge amount of interstellar gas and dust. At the same time, it became 75 times as bright for a few hours. Originally the astronomers weren’t entirely sure why this was happening, but they now have a few ideas.
They know for sure that the increase in brightness was caused by radiation from the dust and gas. Their first guess as to what caused this is that a star called S0-2 came very close to Sagittarius A* and generated a big load of gas that finally reached the black hole in May. The other idea is that an object called G2 got close to Sagittarius A* and that the black hole stripped off G2’s outer layer, causing a huge surge in brightness. Maybe it’s time to get Kid Cloud on the case to investigate!