OUR Milky Way galaxy has a leak in its central black hole, according to a new statement by NASA.
The supermassive black hole, which is named Sagittarius A*, is said to be leaking a ‘blowtorch-like jet’ that dates back at least several thousand years.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched into space in 1990, has yet to photograph the ‘phantom’ jet-like beams.
However, the famed telescope has captured a composite image of material surrounding the black hole.
This “circumstantial evidence,” as NASA is calling it, is letting researchers peer into the behavioral patterns of black holes so they can learn more about their existence.
The composite image revealed to researchers bright X-ray radiation, bright clouds of molecular gas, and heated ionized gas near the black hole.
Shown particularly in the image is the top of a cloud of orange gas and the black hole’s jet colliding with the hydrogen gas before dispersing upwards.
Sagittarius A* is still “pushing feebly into a huge hydrogen cloud and then splattering, like the narrow stream from a hose aimed into a pile of sand,” NASA said in their statement.
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Also visible in the image (pictured below) is superheated blue gas and green molecular gas in green — as captured via X-ray.
These observations are acting as strong evidence for how supermassive black holes can sometimes absorb stars and gas clouds and then eject the superheated material.
This latest news from NASA comes as a new study, led by postgraduate student Alexis Andres, found that Sagittarius A*’s center flares on a day-to-day basis, and quite chaotically.
This data might help researchers find out in the future whether the variations in the flares from Sagittarius A* are due to passing gaseous clouds or stars, or something previously unobserved.
This image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, might give researchers insight into black holes.[/caption]
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