Scientists have made a surprising discovery about a black hole called Sagittarius A* at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. This black hole, which is about 400 million times more massive than the Sun, has been dormant for a long time. However, about 200 years ago, it suddenly became more active and started emitting much more light. It was like a glow-worm that instantly started glowing brightly.
Researchers are not sure what causes such sudden changes, but they are working hard to understand it. They want to know what factors contribute to black holes going from quiescent to active. Recently, scientists were able to make this breakthrough discovery by detecting “echoes” of X-rays from centuries ago. These echoes helped them understand all kinds of events happening around Sagittarius A*.
The researchers also found that the bright light seen in clouds around black holes is due to X-rays reflected by these clouds. They believe these clouds are still showing X-rays emitted by black holes in the early 19th century. This study, published in the journal Nature, provides a new perspective on this unusual phenomenon.
In the past, it was not possible to perform X-ray tests like this. However, scientists have now been able to do this using a special instrument called NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE). This instrument can perform X-ray detection and analysis with high precision. This allowed them to understand better the properties and behavior of these supermassive black holes.
Despite this breakthrough discovery, scientists are still not sure of the exact reason why it is active. They are determined to continue studying the black hole and uncover what causes it to go from quiescent to active. They hope to learn more about these cosmic objects by unraveling the mysteries of black hole behavior.