Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scientists discover a black hole in the middle of our galaxy…again.

You may have been aware of the black hole near the center of our galaxy. Scientists have spoken in hushed tones of it. I wrote of it in Sanacion the Black Hole Mission. But it apparently came as a surprise when they ‘discovered’ it last month!

Recently we had a rare X-Ray Novae near where we suspect the black hole to be, eating up the gas from a companion star. The outburst viewed by Astronomers was identified by them to be a blue light X-ray Nova. This is only produced when the gases of the star rushes toward a black hole or a neutron star. Scientists feel that the behavior being displayed is one that the X-ray Nova only does in the presence of a black hole. The picture to the right shows the gas which builds up in a storage disc around the black hole eventually ‘outbursts’. The outburst is described by observable light of the system that increases by a factor between 100 and 10000 in X-rays and optical. These type of Novae are rare and short lived.

Since these only exist around a compacting event – ie. A Neutron Star or Black Hole, the type of object becomes obvious by the reaction around it after or as the outburst occurs. Is there residual emission? If yes, can’t be a black hole, no, means as the black hole ate it!

The outburst is triggered when the density of the accretion disk exceeds a certain critical value that gives way to the heating of the disc which then ignites the temperature which ionizes the gas. The whole occurrence is a row of Dominos that once one falls over the rest are going to follow. It is when the instability gets to the accretion disk’s inner portion the brightness becomes more evident and the outburst begins. This if followed by the outer accretion disk getting further heated by the radiation.

Just for the record, we first ‘discovered’ this same black hole back in 1974. At least I think it is the same black hole. The way they are talking about this has me a bit confused. It is located in the constellation Sagittarius. It is exactly where one was thought to be though scientists felt it existed due to the gobbling of its companion star. - A black hole is unable to be seen directly by definition. Since it is theorized to ‘eat’ everything, including the light photons, and the light bends around the black hole, it is effectively hidden from site. It is only by observation of the surroundings that its presence becomes known to us.

Anyway, if you haven’t heard about it, I am sure we will be told of its discovery again. Maybe when we plan a mission to the black hole!

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