Our Galaxy's black hole seen flaring
The three eruptions are more evidence of Sag A*’s supermassive status
Flares have been spotted coming from Sagittarius A*, the massive radio source at the centre of our Galaxy, it was recently announced. This is further evidence that Sag A* is a supermassive black hole, as has long been assumed.
The flares originate in the closest stable orbit to the Sag A*’s event horizon – the point where matter is irresistibly drawn into the black hole – where gas can reach speeds of up to 30 per cent the speed of light. The observations of the flares, taken by the Very Large Telescope (VLT), are the most detailed ever taken of material this close to a black hole.
The flares were seen in May 2018, when a team of astronomers were watching star S2 making a close pass of Sag A*. “We were lucky enough to notice three bright flares from around the black hole,” says Oliver Pfuhl, from the Max Plank Institute. www.eso.org
The flares around Sag A*’s event horizon were a chance discovery by scientists studying the star S2