Milky Way's Black Hole Dining on Asteroids


Over the last few years the Chandra has detected X-ray flares coming from Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at a rate of about one a day. This is the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Each flare can last hours and increase Sgr A*’s X-ray brightness by up to a hundred times. The conclusion is that supermassive black hole could be vaporizing and consuming asteroids.

The researcher think that there exists a cloud of trillions of asteroids and comets around Sgr A*. They could have been stripped from their parent stars. Any asteroids coming within 1 AU of the black hole would be ripped apart tidal forces. The fragments would subsequently vaporize while passing through the hot gas normally flowing onto the black hole.  This flare itself is a result of this material from the asteroid being swallowed by the black hole. Estimate are that the observed flares consume an asteroids that is least 6 miles across.

 

 

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