Jun 10, 2019 09:51 AM EDT
Every massive object in existence in space comes with its own accretion disk. These are like rings of gas that circle the object. The supermassive black hole that scientists have identified comes with its own accretion disk. It is covered in gas and other materials that reach blazing hot temperatures. Scientists have seen is emitting powerful x-rays.
Accretion disks have been seen with other black holes before, but this is the first time that the supermassive black hole has been spotted with one. This supermassive black hole was named Sagittarius A. This astronomical object is immensely huge and it rests in the middle of the Milky Way galaxy which has an estimated distance of 26,000 light years away from the Earth. It estimated the weight of 4,000,000 solar masses definitely tips the scale.
Elena M. Murchikova, an astrophysicist from Caltech led the team of astronomers that announced that they have taken an image of the accretion disk of Sagittarius A. They used the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. The results of their study were published in the journal Nature.
Murchikova along with her collaborators were not only able to take an image of the accretion disk, but they were also able to trace its motion through the process of radio mapping. The radio signal it produces was used to record the motion and direction it is taking. One side of the disk showed that the accretion was moving away from the Earth while the other side is showing the opposite. These movements suggest that the disk may be rotating.
Each passing year, more information is discovered about the Sagittarius A. this monster black hole in the middle of the Milky Way comes into focus each year.
"We learned more about the accretion onto the black hole and its possible movement," Murchikova said. "However, there remains to be little knowledge of how this accretion works. We are hopeful that the results we have gathered from ALMA will help us understand the little secrets that the black hole keeps"
The study of black holes continue. Astronomers like Murchikova are persistent in learning about this object lurking in space. When people know more, they are able to protect themselves from the possible dangers and risks that these back holes and their accretion may come with.
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