Sagittarius A* Black Hole

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Context: Researchers have noted on three extraordinary occasions this year that Sagittarius A*, the black hole showed unusual behaviour. The area immediately outside Sagittarius A* is becoming twice as bright as compared to any previously recorded instance.

Relevance:

GS- 3 Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Background:

BLACK HOLE

  • According to Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, black holes are uninhabitable chasms of spacetime that end in a ‘singularity,’ or a mass of infinite density.
  • Black holes, with gravitational fields so powerful that not even light could escape them, were inferred by quantum physics about a century ago.
  • It’s a place so bleak that even the laws of physics break down there.
  • According to scientist estimates, there are approximately 100 million black holes in our galaxy, however, none of them are close enough to Earth.
  • The gravitational forces of them are so strong that nothing, neither matter nor light, can escape once it gets too close.

Sagittarius A*

  • It is at the center of the Milky Way galaxy which has four million times the mass of the sun.
  • A supermassive black hole that sits 26,000 light-years away from Earth, near the Galactic Center, or the center of the Milky Way.
  • It is one of the few black holes where we can witness the flow of matter nearby. This has been made possible with the help of Event Horizon Telescope.

Recent Findings

  • Since the discovery of Sagittarius A* 24 years ago, it has been fairly calm.
  • This year, however, Sagittarius A* has shown unusual activity, and the area around it has been much brighter than usual.
  • It may be that the Sagittarius A* has become hungrier, and has been feeding on the nearby matter at a markedly faster rate, which one researcher described as a “big feast”. A black hole does not emit light by itself, but the matter that it consumes can be a source of light.

Event Horizon Telescope

  • The Event Horizon Telescope is an international collaboration aiming to capture the first image of a black hole by creating a virtual Earth-sized telescope.
  • Instead of constructing a giant telescope EHT links radio dishes across the globe to create an Earth-sized interferometer to measure the size of black holes.
  • The EHT project includes theoretical and simulation studies that are framing questions rooted at the black hole boundary.
  • The following are two massive black holes photographed by EHT
    • Sagittarius A* – It is at the center of Milky Way galaxy which has four million times the mass of sun.
    • Monster black hole – It is in an elliptical galaxy known as M87, and it is 1500 times more massive than Sag A*.



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