The strange mass was traveling at 30% of his speed of light. The orbit of a newly discovered fast hotspot around Sagittarius A* overlaps with the first image of a supermassive black hole captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration. The orbit of a newly discovered fast hotspot around Sagittarius A* overlaps with the first image of a supermassive black hole captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration. Astronomers have discovered a hot mass of gas swirling around the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy at extraordinary speed A powerful magnetic field surrounding a giant space-time rift electrified a strange gaseous sphere, accelerating it to up to 30% the speed of light, according to new research.
The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A*, is about four million times more massive than the Sun and has a diameter of about 40 million miles (60 million km). Normally, anything that gets too close to such a massive black hole is drawn across the event horizon by its overwhelming gravity. But the newly discovered blobs of gas, or hot spots, are moving so fast that they appear to form stable orbits around the vastness of space. The orbit of the gas mass around Sagittarius A* is the same size as Mercury’s orbit around the Sun. But the burning mass makes a complete orbit around the black hole every 70 minutes, compared to Mercury taking 88 days to travel the same distance, researchers said Sept 22 in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
“This requires a staggering speed of about 30% the speed of light,” said Maciek Wielgus, lead author of the study and an astronomer at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy. That’s about 201.2 million miles per hour (323.8 million km/h), about 3,000 times faster than the Earth moves around the Sun.
Researchers first spotted the orbiting blob in 2017 using his Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile Composed of 66 antennas, ALMA is one of his eight telescopes that make up the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) network, and in May of this year it produced the first direct image of Sagittarius A*. generated.
When researchers were tuning ALMA to focus on Sagittarius A* for the EHT project, they discovered an unusual X-ray emission from space around the black hole. The flare’s electromagnetic radiation was also found at infrared and radio wavelengths, showing evidence of highly polarized, twisting, and synchrotron acceleration. In synchrotron acceleration, an object experiences acceleration perpendicular to its velocity This type of acceleration occurs when charged particles are propelled forward by a strong magnetic field, similar to how artificial particle accelerators charge electrons, according to ScienceAlert.
The only explanation for this type of acceleration is that the flare is caused by the magnetically constrained disk of the black hole (matter that surrounds the black hole and is held in place by a strong magnetic field that counteracts the gravitational pull that pulls matter into space. Therefore concluded that the only possible origin of the flare was the charged mass of gas trapped in this disk. Various research groups have detected similar signals from hotspots rapidly orbiting other black holes, according to the statement But this is the first time flares emitted from a hotspot have been observed at radio, infrared, and X-ray wavelengths, the researchers wrote in their paper. The position of Sagittarius A* in the Milky Way as seen by ALMA in Chile
The researchers think the radio waves they detected could mean the hotspot is slowing down and losing some of its energy. It could indicate that the mass of gas eventually slows down enough to overcome the shield and eventually pull the gas into the infinity mouth.
The researchers hope to use this new information to track more hotspots around other black holes “In the future, we should be able to track hot spots across frequencies using coordinated multi-wavelength observations,” says study co-author Ivan Marti, a radio astronomer at the University of Valencia in Spain. – Vidal said in a statement “A successful attempt like this would be a real milestone in our understanding of the physics of flares in the Galactic center.”