The Black Hole in The Center of The Galaxy Flashes

Image of black hole with blue flash around it, not actual image of black hole.

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Image of black hole with blue flash around it, not actual image of black hole.

Dominic Fightmaster, Tech Writer

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If you have been looking into things that have been going on in space, you may have heard that the black hole in the center of the galaxy suddenly flashed. This happened 26,000 light-years away and scientists don’t know why this strange event happened. This spring, astronomers spotted this whilst looking at the black hole. The unusual event was observed with the Keck II telescope located in Hawaii. Tuan Do, an Associated Research Scientist at UCLA, has been observing the black hole for years and posted about the event.

The black hole, known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), released a massive burst of infrared radiation out. According to Tuan, “This was the brightest we’ve ever seen in the infrared so far.” It reached brighter flux levels in 2019. Now a flux level or magnetic flux through a surface is the surface integral of the normal component of the magnetic field passing through it. For a black hole, this would be its event horizon. These strange fluxes are described as being very unusual. As of writing this, scientists haven’t found out what caused this. They are still trying to find out what caused this. 

They observed this by using infrared, but they have been observing it for years using multiple wavelengths of lights. They also saw massive drops in the brightness of the black hole. Usually Sgr A* is calm and doesn’t act very much. Tuan believes this may have been caused by the close passage of a star called S0-2 that happened last year, or a dusty object they call G2 that happened in 2014. Though these are what they are currently working with. They are still trying to figure out what may have caused this and many scientists are still monitoring the black hole. Some of these people are the Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes. Also, the recently launched Russian space telescope is keeping its eyes on Sgr A*. Sgr A* is also in the eyes of the people who took the first picture of the black hole and are trying to get data from the black hole. 

This is a very strange thing to view. I personally hope that we hear from Tuan and get more information on what may have caused this. As of writing this, they have said nothing else that I could find. This event happening is a very interesting thing to have witnessed and to be studying, as Sgr A* is not a very active black hole. Hopefully, this will help us understand what is going on and give us more information, so if this happens to another black hole, we can study it and be able to understand what caused this strange flash from the black hole.