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Blob
2007-Jan-10, 07:31 PM
This set of Chandra images shows evidence for a light echo generated by the Milky Way's supermassive black hole, a.k.a. Sagittarius A* (pronounced "A-star"). Astronomers believe a mass equivalent to the planet Mercury was devoured by the black hole about 50 years earlier, causing an X-ray outburst which then reflected off gas clouds near Sagittarius A*.
The large image shows a Chandra view of the middle of the Milky Way, with Sagittarius A* labelled. The smaller images show close-ups of the region marked with ellipses. Clear changes in the shapes and brightness of the gas clouds are seen between the 3 different observations in 2002, 2004 and 2005. This behaviour agrees with theoretical predictions for a light echo produced by Sagittarius A* and helps rule out other interpretations.

Position(2000): RA 17h 45m 58.013s Dec -28 56' 33.11"

Read more (http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2007/gcle/)

Credit: NASA/CXC/Caltech/M.Muno et al

Peter Wilson
2007-Jan-10, 11:56 PM
Why did the Mercury mass cross the event horizon? ;)

Blob
2007-Jan-11, 03:29 AM
The giant black hole at our galaxy's centre ate something about as massive as Mercury 60 years ago, new results from the Chandra X-ray Observatory suggest. The finding adds to previous evidence that the black hole, which is currently starved, does in fact devour things from time to time...

Several studies have shown evidence of past outbursts, including one in 2005 suggesting that SgrA* ate a large meal 350 yeas ago that made it a million times brighter than it is now.

Read more (http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn10935-for-milky-ways-black-hole-its-feast-or-famine.html)


A - it was virtual

Wombaticus Rex
2007-Jan-11, 03:31 AM
Beautiful pic, thanks for that!

Kaptain K
2007-Jan-11, 10:21 AM
Why did the Mercury mass cross the event horizon?
To get to the other side! :dance: