In a groundbreaking discovery, astrophysicists Gustavo Magallanes-Guijon and Sergio Mendoza of the National Autonomous University of Mexico have observed the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, located more than 25,000 light-years away, exhibiting a pulsating phenomenon every 76 minutes. This revelation sheds light on the enigmatic nature of black holes and hints at the presence of an orbiting object around Sagittarius A*.
The gamma-ray emissions from Sagittarius A* were found to oscillate with remarkable regularity, synchronized with changes in the black hole’s radio and X-ray emissions. This led the scientists to propose the existence of an orbital motion of an unidentified object revolving around the black hole. While black holes themselves emit no detectable radiation, events in the extreme gravitational region surrounding them can manifest in various ways.
A* Reveals Astonishing Gamma-Ray Flares
The observations revealed that the strength of light emitted by the black hole varies significantly over time, and these variations occur in multiple wavelengths. Previous studies in 2022 and 2017 had identified periodicities in radio waves and X-ray flares, respectively. The 2021 discovery connected Sagittarius A* to gamma radiation, with a peculiar periodicity of 76.32 minutes. This periodicity coincided with the periodicity of radio flares, suggesting a correlation between the two.
The researchers proposed that the most likely candidate for the observed periodicity is a blob of hot gas bound together by a strong magnetic field. This gas blob is thought to accelerate particles synchronously, emitting radiation in the process. The orbital distance of this intriguing object from the black hole is comparable to Mercury’s orbit around the Sun. However, the blob moves at an astonishing speed—around 30% of the speed of light—with an orbital period ranging from 70 to 80 minutes.
The findings suggest that this gas blob, driven by a strong magnetic field, is responsible for the observed periodicities in radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray emissions. The synchronized nature of these emissions indicates a rhythmic orbital motion around Sagittarius A*. This discovery not only enhances our understanding of the dynamic behavior of black holes but also underscores the complexity of interactions in the extreme environments near these cosmic entities. As scientists continue to unravel the mysteries surrounding black holes, Sagittarius A* remains a focal point for groundbreaking astronomical revelations.