Telescopes show Milky Way black hole ready to kick| Trending Viral hub

This artist’s illustration shows the findings of a new study on the supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy called Sagittarius A* (abbreviated as Sgr A*). As reported in our latest press releaseThis result found that Sgr A* rotates so fast that it deforms space time (i.e. time and three dimensions of space) to make it more like a soccer ball.

These results were made with NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory and NSF’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA). A team of researchers applied a new method that uses bone scan and radio data to determine how fast Sgr A* rotates based on how material flows to and from the black hole. They discovered that Sgr A* rotates with an angular velocity that is approximately 60% of the maximum possible value, and with a angular momentum approximately 90% of the maximum possible value.

Black holes have two fundamental properties: their mass (how much they weigh) and their spin (how fast they spin). Determining either of these two values ​​tells scientists a lot about any black hole and how it behaves. In the past, astronomers made other estimates of Sgr A*’s rotation speed using different techniques, with results ranging from Sgr A* not spinning at all to spinning at almost its maximum speed.

The new study suggests that Sgr A* is in fact spinning very quickly, causing the space-time around it to squish together. The illustration shows a cross section of Sgr A* and the material swirling around it in a disk. The black sphere in the center represents the so-called event horizon of the black hole, the point of no return from which nothing, not even light, can escape.

Looking at the spinning black hole from the side, as shown in this illustration, the spacetime around it is shaped like a soccer ball. The faster the spin, the flatter the ball will be.

The yellow-orange material on either side represents gas swirling around Sgr A*. This material inevitably rushes toward the black hole and crosses the event horizon once it falls into the shape of a soccer ball. Therefore, the area inside the soccer ball shape but outside the event horizon is represented as a cavity. The blue spots show jets shooting from the poles of the rotating black hole. Looking at the black hole from above, along the jet canyon, spacetime has a circular shape.

The spin of a black hole can act as an important source of energy. Rotating supermassive black holes produce collimated flows, like jets, when their rotational energy is extracted, which requires that there be at least some matter in the vicinity of the black hole. Due to fuel shortages around Sgr A*, this black hole has been relatively quiet in recent millennia with relatively weak jets. This work, however, shows that this could change if the amount of material in the vicinity of Sgr A* increases.

To determine the spin of Sgr A*, the authors used an empirical technique called the “outflow method” that details the relationship between the spin of the black hole and its mass, the properties of matter near the black hole, and the properties of exit. The collimated flow produces radio waves, while the gas disk surrounding the black hole is responsible for the emission of X-rays. Using this method, the researchers combined data from Chandra and the VLA with an independent estimate of the hole’s mass. black hole from other telescopes to limit the spin of the black hole.

The paper describing these results led by Ruth Daly (Penn State University) is published in the January 2024 issue of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and appears online at The other authors are Biny Sebastian (University of Manitoba, Canada), Megan Donahue (Michigan State University), Christopher O’Dea (University of Manitoba), Daryl Haggard (McGill University), and Anan Lu (McGill University).

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center controls science operations from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.

Read more at NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit:

This artist’s illustration shows a cross section of Sagittarius A*, pronounced “SAJ-ee-TARE-ee-us A-star,” the supermassive black hole near the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

In the center of the image, the circular, rotating black hole is presented from the side in black. The shape of the surrounding space-time, depicted in shades of dark yellow, appears flattened and is thus reminiscent of the shape of an American football. The swirling gas surrounding Sagittarius A* is presented on either side of the black hole, within a rectangular dotted line, indicating that the representation is a cross-sectional view.

The background of the image contains a multitude of faint stars, peeking out from within eerie clouds, dark red and indistinct.

Megan Watzke
Chandra X-ray Center
Cambridge, mass.

Jonathan Deal
Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, Alabama.

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