Astronomers have discovered a hot gas bubble swirling around a supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A*.
Did you know that there is a black hole in the center of the Milky Way? Nearly 26,000 light-years away in the center of our Milky Way galaxy is Sagittarius A*, a supermassive black hole that could one day engulf the entire Milky Way galaxy. The first image of this supermassive black hole was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope in May. The supermassive black hole has huge amounts of gas around it.
Now astronomers have seen a hot gas bubble swirling around the supermassive black hole. The discovery was made using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in the Antofagasta region of Chile’s Atacama Desert. This discovery was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics by Maciek Wielgus of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, who led this study.
The astronomers spotted the hot gas bubble shortly after a burst of X-rays was emitted from the center of the Milky Way, as observed by NASA’s Chandra Space Telescope. About this discovery, Wielgus said in the official press release: “What is really new and interesting is that until now, such outbursts were only apparent in X-ray and infrared observations of Sagittarius A*. Here we see for the first time a very strong indication that rotating hotspots are also present in orbiting radio observations.”
According to the study, the burst of X-rays is associated with a phenomenon called “hot spots.” Jesse Vos, a PhD student at Radboud University, Netherlands, who was also involved in this study, said: “Perhaps these hotspots detected at infrared wavelengths are a manifestation of the same physical phenomenon: as infrared-emitting hotspots cool, they become visible. at longer wavelengths, such as those observed by ALMA and the EHT.”
This discovery confirms observations from previous studies conducted by the GRAVITY instrument of the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). The data collected by both GRAVITY and ALMA confirm that the flare originated from a hot gas bubble in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.