The supermassive black hole in our galaxy is spinning very quickly, violently distorting space-time

The supermassive black hole in our galaxy is spinning very quickly, violently distorting space-time

Artistic representation of a cross-section of Sagittarius A* — © NASA / CXC / M. Weiss

The rotation of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way is so fast that it violently distorts spacetime, taking the shape of an American football.

Brutal effect

According to Einstein's theory of general relativity, mass distorts the lattice of space-time, which is a “fabric”. » Four-dimensionality that permeates the universe. If this phenomenon occurs with any object, it is naturally most noticeable when it is very massive.

In this case, we obtained amazing results, including galaxies capable of acting like lenses to magnify luminous objects behind them, allowing us to see much further into the universe, or waves emitted by colliding black holes and neutron stars scattered throughout the universe.being.

Recently, astronomers have investigated Black hole Super huge of milky waycalled Sagittarius A*, and discovered that it rotates fast enough to distort space-time and give it an elliptical shape, if the cosmic monster is observed from the side.

Published in the magazine Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical SocietyTheir work is based on observations from the Chandra X-ray space telescope. Taking a closer look at how matter flows around the supermassive black hole, I found that its speed and angle of rotation were sufficient to cause such distortions.

Awakening of the sleeping giant?

The huge amount of energy generated by the rapid rotation of active supermassive black holes would be the source of large flows of matter. If Sagittarius A* is currently relatively quiet, giant “chimneys” are present » X-rays above and below the plane of our galaxy prove that it was significantly more turbulent.

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According to the authors of the new study, it is possible to see a noticeable increase in activity in the relatively near future.

This could happen in a thousand or a million years, or even within our lifetime », concludes Annan Lu, a researcher at McGill University in Montreal.

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