Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A*) is a supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. It is a gigantic object containing about 4 million times the mass of our sun. It also exhibits an odd behavior. Scientists have identified mysterious flares being emitted from the black hole for a few hours each day.
After years seeking an explanation, astronomers, using new data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, think that they have found one. Sgr A* may simply be vaporizing and actually “devouring” asteroids that cross its path. Think of the flares as a galactic burp.
There is no shortage of raw material for Sgr A* to consume. According to NASA, the cloud around Sgr A* contains literally trillions of asteroids and comets. Any celestial object passing with 100 million miles of the black hole–that’s roughly the distance between Earth and the sun–would get obliterated. (love to see how James T. Kirk would pull the Enterprise out of that one. Just saying.)
Ex astris, scientia