Astronomers have noticed indicators of a ‘sizzling spot’ orbiting Sagittarius A*, the
The observations were made with ALMA in the Chilean Andes, during a campaign by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration to image black holes. ALMA is — a radio telescope co-owned by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). In April 2017 the EHT linked together eight existing radio telescopes worldwide, including ALMA, resulting in the recently released first-ever image of Sagittarius A*. To calibrate the EHT data, Wielgus and his colleagues, who are members of the EHT Collaboration, used ALMA data recorded simultaneously with the EHT observations of Sagittarius A*. To the research team’s surprise, there were more clues to the nature of the black hole hidden in the ALMA-only measurements.
The usage of ALMA, astronomers have discovered a sizzling bubble of gasoline that swirls round Sagittarius A*, the black hollow on the middle of our galaxy, at 30% of the rate of sunshine.
Accidentally, one of the crucial observations have been executed in a while after a burst or flare of X-ray power used to be emitted from the middle of our galaxy, which used to be noticed by means of
This video displays an animation of a sizzling spot, a bubble of sizzling gasoline, in orbit round Sagittarius A*, a black hollow 4 million instances extra huge than our Solar that is living on the middle of our
Credit: EHT Collaboration, ESO/L. Calçada (Acknowledgment: M. Wielgus)
“Perhaps these hot spots detected at infrared wavelengths are a manifestation of the same physical phenomenon: as infrared-emitting hot spots cool down, they become visible at longer wavelengths, like the ones observed by ALMA and the EHT,” adds Jesse Vos. He is a PhD student at Radboud University, the Netherlands, and was also involved in this study.
The flares were long thought to originate from magnetic interactions in the very hot gas orbiting very close to Sagittarius A*, and the new findings support this idea. “Now we find strong evidence for a magnetic origin of these flares and our observations give us a clue about the geometry of the process. The new data are extremely helpful for building a theoretical interpretation of these events,” says co-author Monika Moscibrodzka from Radboud University.
ALMA allows astronomers to study polarized radio emission from Sagittarius A*, which can be used to unveil the black hole’s magnetic field. The team used these observations together with theoretical models to learn more about the formation of the hot spot and the environment it is embedded in, including the magnetic field around Sagittarius A*. Their research provides stronger constraints on the shape of this magnetic field than previous observations, helping astronomers uncover the nature of our black hole and its surroundings.
The observations confirm some of the previous discoveries made by the GRAVITY instrument at ESO’s
The team is also hoping to be able to directly observe the orbiting gas clumps with the EHT, to probe ever closer to the black hole and learn more about it. “Hopefully, one day, we will be comfortable saying that we ‘know’ what is going on in Sagittarius A*,” Wielgus concludes.
Reference: “Orbital motion near Sagittarius A* – Constraints from polarimetric ALMA observations” by M. Wielgus, M. Moscibrodzka, J. Vos, Z. Gelles, I. Martí-Vidal, J. Farah, N. Marchili, C. Goddi and H. Messias, 22 September 2022, Astronomy & Astrophysics.
The team is composed of M. Wielgus (Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Germany [MPIfR]; Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland; Black Hollow Initiative at Harvard College, USA [BHI]), M. Moscibrodzka (Division of Astrophysics, Radboud College, The Netherlands [Radboud]), J. Vos (Radboud), Z. Gelles (Middle for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, USA and BHI), I. Martí-Vidal (Universitat de València, Spain), J. Farah (Las Cumbres Observatory, USA; College of California, Santa Barbara, USA), N. Marchili (Italian ALMA Regional Centre, INAF-Istituto di Radioastronomia, Italy and MPIfR), C. Goddi (Dipartimento di Fisica, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Italy and Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil), and H. Messias (Joint ALMA Observatory, Chile).
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