Tech & Science

Black hole at galaxy’s centre to swallow mysterious object: study

A mysterious elongated object is being dragged into a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy, according to new research.

led by astronomers of UCLA Galactic Center Group and Keck Observatory In Hawaii, the study is based on 20 years of observations of the object known as X7. Researchers now believe it could be a cloud of gas and dust ejected when two stars collided.

“No other body in this region has undergone such extreme evolution,” said lead author Anna Ciurlo, research assistant at UCLA. news release“Originally it had the shape of a comet, and people thought it might have taken its shape from a stellar wind or a jet of particles from a black hole, but after tracking it for 20 years. , I see it getting longer.Something must have put this cloud on it’s specific path with a specific orientation. ”

Researchers predict that X7 will make its closest approach to the black hole known as Sagittarius A* around 2036.

“The strong tidal forces exerted by the galactic black hole are expected to eventually rip X7 apart before making a full orbit,” said co-author Mark Morris, professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA. I’m here.

of The study was published this week In the Journal of Astrophysics.

The origin of X7 is still uncertain, but stellar mergers are common near black holes.

“It’s a very messy process. Stars circle each other, get closer, merge, and new stars are hidden in clouds of dust and gas,” Ciuro explained. “X7 could be dust and gas ejected from a merged star still out there.”

X7 has a mass of about 50 Earths and is accelerating toward the black hole at a speed of about 1,125 kilometers per second. The researchers plan to continue observing X7 as the supermassive black hole’s gravitational forces will eventually tear it apart.

“We are excited to see in great detail the dramatic changes in the shape and dynamics of X7 over a relatively short timescale, as the gravitational pull of the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy influences this object. co-author Randy Campbell, Science Operations Leader at Keck Observatory. “It’s an honor to be able to study the extreme environment at the center of our galaxy.”

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