A rapidly rotating, rugby-ball-shaped supermassive black hole in the Milky Way

The Sagittarius A* black hole is located about 26,000 light-years from Earth.

The center of our Milky Way Galaxy is home to a supermassive black hole rotating so fast that it warps spacetime into an oval shape resembling a rugby ball. The result is based on a comprehensive analysis of X-ray and radio measurements from… NASA's Chandra X-ray ObservatoryX-ray telescope in space. The giant black hole, known as Sagittarius A* or Sgr A*, is located about 26,000 light-years from Earth.

“Black holes have two basic properties. The first is their mass, or how much they weigh. The second is their spin, or how fast they spin. Determining which of these two values ​​tells scientists a lot about any black hole and how it forms,” explained NASA. “It behaves.”

Scientists have not been able to accurately determine the rotation speed of Sgr A*, but they are certain that it weighs about four million times the weight of the Sun. This new study uses a method based on the movement of material toward and away from the black hole to calculate the rotation rate of Sagittarius A* using X-ray and radio data.

The results showed that the black hole is rotating very quickly. The US Space Agency stated, “Scientists believe that it is rotating so quickly that it distorts space-time around it to form a shape resembling an American football.”

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The concept of time associated with the three dimensions of space is called space-time. Although it has long been known that black holes possess this ability, there is now strong evidence that a black hole in the Milky Way does.

“Our work may help solve the question of how fast the supermassive black hole in our galaxy is rotating. Our results suggest that Sagittarius A* is rotating very quickly, which is interesting and has far-reaching implications,” said Ruth Daly of Pennsylvania State University. Who is the lead author of the new study?

The rotation of a black hole also has many other effects. It can serve as an important source of energy. Extracting spin energy from supermassive black holes can lead to narrow outflows in the form of jets. Although Sagittarius A* is not very active at the moment, this new discovery suggests that it may become more active in the future.

“The rotating black hole is like a rocket on a launch pad,” said co-author Benny Sebastian from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. “Once the material gets close enough, it's as if someone fueled the rocket and pressed the 'launch' button.”

According to the space agency, if the properties of matter and the strength of the magnetic field near the black hole change in the future, part of the enormous energy of the black hole's rotation could lead to more powerful outflows. If the star were wandering too close to the black hole, this source material coming from gas or star remnants would be torn apart by the black hole's gravity.

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