NASA spots supermassive black hole erupting into Milky Way’s heart | Science | News

NASA has spotted a colossal ‘exhaust’ vent in the middle of the Milky Way, likened to a car’s exhaust system, emanating from the supermassive black hole at our galaxy’s heart.

Scientists utilising NASA‘s Chandra X-ray telescope have unveiled that Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the massive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, boasts a cosmic “exhaust vent”.

This chimney-like structure is positioned perpendicularly to the plane of the Milky Way‘s disk, creating a “tunnel” that funnels hot gas towards the outer regions of Sgr A*.

The “exhaust vent” seems almost detached from the black hole itself, with the top of the tunnel situated approximately 700 light-years from the central area.

The discovery of the chimney was initially made with the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton telescope, but it was Chandra’s images that revealed the vent in striking detail.

The photos show various segments of the chimney in assorted hues based on radio wave data, with the newly found vent appearing as a vivid blue and white streak against a backdrop of darker blue.

Enhanced imagery highlights white X-ray wave ridges flowing out of the vent, which scientists believe to be streams of hot gas.

Despite their voracious reputation, supermassive black holes like Sgr A* are known for consuming surprisingly little material, with Sgr A* ingesting so little that experts suggest it would only consume the equivalent of one grain of rice every million years if it were human.

Sgr A*, our Milky Way’s enigmatic supermassive black hole, is showing picky eating habits according to the latest Chandra observations, which reveal insights into the materials it spurns.

This selective feeding could be due to a sophisticated gas channelling mechanism, reports the Daily Star.

Unlike its cosmic counterparts, Sgr A* indulges in a stellar feast known as a tidal disruption event much less often, approximately every 20,000 years, where it devours and tears apart an unfortunate star.

This violent process unleashes vast amounts of energy and ejects remnants of the destroyed star.

It’s speculated that Sgr A* expels this debris through what might be considered an “exhaust vent”.

However, astrophysicists are still piecing together the puzzle to fully grasp the complexities of our galaxy.


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