Astronomers said that they have observed the supermassive black hole that’s the closest to Earth glowing. The weird thing is not the fact that it’s been glowing, but the fact that it had “unprecedented brightness.”
This black hole is known as Saggitarius A* or SGR A* and it’s four million times as massive as the Sun. It’s also about 26k light-years from Earth.
Even if there’s no visible light that can escape the gravitational pull of a black hole, astronomers will be able to observe the hot gas that’s about to fall into it in “near-infrared, the portion of the infrared spectrum closest to light detectable by the human eye,” USA Today writes.
The brightness was more powerful than ever
“So we observed basically four nights of observation this year. On one of the nights its brightness was about twice as bright as the brightest measurement in the past 20 years,” said Tuan Do, an associate research scientist and deputy director of the galactic center group at UCLA, who led the study.
Do continued and said: “That indicates that perhaps something interesting is happening physically in the region of the black hole.”
According to the online publication mentioned above, Do said what exactly caused the sudden change in brightness is still a mystery.
“That’s the big question, that’s what we’re all super excited to try to figure out,” Do said. “We really don’t know at this point and only really with more data can we have a firm physical explanation.”
It’s been also revealed that this study has been reviewed and Do is expecting that it will be published in the journal Astrophysical Letters really soon.
It’s important to understand that more research is required to be made in order to determine exactly what caused this huge light. Do also said that the window for observation is starting to close slowly.
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