Feb 12

Chandra Finds Milky Way's Black Hole Grazing on Asteroids

Source: NASA Chandra

Supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way.
Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/F. Baganoff et al.; Illustrations: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

The giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way may be vaporizing and devouring asteroids, which could explain the frequent flares observed, according to astronomers using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

For several years Chandra has detected X-ray flares about once a day from the supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A*, or "Sgr A*" for short. The flares last a few hours with brightness ranging from a few times to nearly one hundred times that of the black hole's regular output. The flares also have been seen in infrared data from ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile. (read more)

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