Monday, February 13, 2012

Hungry, Hungry Black Holes 02.10.12

Black Holes have a way of “eating” anything that gets re­motely close to them. In astronomical terms, we are talking about 100 million miles away or less.

It turns out, these pesky over-eating habits seem to be the answer for some questions regarding recent flares from the gigantic black hole at the center of Sgr (Sagittarius) A*. Closer studies seem to reveal that the black hole is surrounded by a cloud of asteroids and other detritus that is continually swept into its path. As it gets close, it gets torn to pieces by the black hole, and this friction makes the pieces heat up and glow, much like a meteor in our atmosphere, NASA says. A flare is produced as an astronomical burp of sorts, and the cycle of destruction continues.
Image credit: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss.

This is no baby with its first birthday cake, though. Far from it, actually. Needless to say, this monster at the center of our galaxy is getting a lot of attention.

Information credit: NASA

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