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Milky Way black hole warps space-time, looks like a soccer ball, NASA’s Chandra X-ray telescope shows


Recent NASA findings reveal that the Milky Way’s black hole, Sagittarius A*, is spinning rapidly, warping space-time, which could lead to energy leaks.

By:
HT TECHNOLOGY

Updated in: February 9, 2024, 22:34 IST


Telescopes have provided new insights into the characteristics of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). Using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray telescope and NSF’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), researchers have determined that Sgr A* is spinning at a remarkable rate, warping spacetime in its surroundings. . This find, illustrated in artistic representations, shows Sgr A* resembling a soccer ball due to its rapid rotation. (NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

1/5 Telescopes have provided new insights into the characteristics of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). Using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray telescope and NSF’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), researchers have determined that Sgr A* is spinning at a remarkable rate, warping spacetime in its surroundings. . This find, illustrated in artistic representations, shows Sgr A* resembling a soccer ball due to its rapid rotation. (NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

The study employed a novel method that combines X-ray and radio data to determine the angular velocity and momentum of the black hole. It revealed that Sgr A* is spinning at about 60 percent of the maximum possible speed, with an angular momentum close to 90 percent of the maximum value. The spin of a black hole is a fundamental property that influences its behavior and energy production. In the case of Sgr A*, its rapid spin is hypothesized to be a potential energy source, generating collimated, jet-like outflows. (NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

2/5 The study employed a novel method that combines X-ray and radio data to determine the angular velocity and momentum of the black hole. It revealed that Sgr A* is spinning at about 60 percent of the maximum possible speed, with an angular momentum close to 90 percent of the maximum value. The spin of a black hole is a fundamental property that influences its behavior and energy production. In the case of Sgr A*, its rapid spin is hypothesized to be a potential energy source, generating collimated, jet-like outflows. (NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

The illustration accompanying the study visualizes Sgr A* as a black sphere representing the event horizon, surrounded by swirling gas that forms a disk. This material is depicted as yellow-orange, flowing toward the black hole and crossing the event horizon. Meanwhile, the blue spots represent jets emanating from the poles of the spinning black hole. These jets are a consequence of the extraction of spin energy when matter is in the vicinity of the black hole. (POT)

3/5 The illustration accompanying the study visualizes Sgr A* as a black sphere representing the event horizon, surrounded by swirling gas that forms a disk. This material is depicted as yellow-orange, flowing toward the black hole and crossing the event horizon. Meanwhile, the blue spots represent jets emanating from the poles of the spinning black hole. These jets are a consequence of the extraction of spin energy when matter is in the vicinity of the black hole. (POT)

The research, led by Ruth Daly of Penn State University and published in the January 2024 issue of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, used an empirical technique known as the “outflow method” to determine the spin of Sgr A *. By combining data from Chandra and the VLA with independent estimates of the black hole’s mass, the authors constrained its spin. (Pixabay)

4/5 The research, led by Ruth Daly of Penn State University and published in the January 2024 issue of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, used an empirical technique known as the “outflow method” to determine the spin of Sgr A *. By combining data from Chandra and the VLA with independent estimates of the black hole’s mass, the authors constrained its spin. (Pixabay)

The implications of these findings extend to understanding the behavior and evolution of supermassive black holes. The relatively quiet nature of Sgr A* in recent millennia, characterized by weak jets due to the limited amount of surrounding material, may change if the availability of nearby matter increases. This study sheds light on the dynamic interaction between the spin of a black hole, the surrounding material and the generation of energy flows. (POT)

5/5 The implications of these findings extend to understanding the behavior and evolution of supermassive black holes. The relatively quiet nature of Sgr A* in recent millennia, characterized by weak jets due to the limited amount of surrounding material, may change if the availability of nearby matter increases. This study sheds light on the dynamic interaction between the spin of a black hole, the surrounding material and the generation of energy flows. (POT)

First publication date: February 9, 22:33 IST




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