Every 16 years, the star known as S2, from the constellation of Sagittarius, is "dredged" by mysterious objects, right at the center of our galaxy 26,000 light years from Earth, weighing about 4 million suns. But this year offers a unique opportunity for teams of astronomers to try prove their existence: for several months, "small" stars approached the center of the galaxy closest, allowing them to better analyze gravitational behavior in extreme environments and reap significant clues about this mega object.
In this case, it was a team that resulted from the collaboration of researchers in Germany and Chile, led by Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute, to have "luck": he had been able to collect what he classified as the strongest evidence so far. from supermassive black holes: every 45 minutes, gas clouds emerge into the orbit of the galactic center, making a full revolution of about 240 million kilometers at speeds that correspond to nearly 30% of the speed of light. For astrophysicists, this behavior can only be explained by the presence of supermassive black holes.
In the publication last week, at Astronomy & AstrophysicsThe Genzel Team notes that this is as close as possible to observing the zone surrounding this kind of black hole.
In addition to beliefs about the existence of this black hole at the center of the Milky Way, astronomers believe that there is a supermassive hole at the center of all large galaxies, at least.
To be confirmed, this will be an explanation for the violent and spectacular phenomena seen in the centers of the galaxy.