- Feb 24, 2016
More At: https://www.universetoday.com/143150/milky-ways-black-hole-just-flared-growing-75-times-as-bright-for-a-few-hours/Even though the black hole at the center of the Milky Way is a monster, it’s still rather quiet. Called Sagittarius A*, it’s about 4.6 million times more massive than our Sun. Usually, it’s a brooding behemoth. But scientists observing Sgr. A* with the Keck Telescope just watched as its brightness bloomed to over 75 times normal for a few hours.
The flaring is not visible in optical light. It’s all happening in the near-infrared, the portion of the infrared spectrum closest to optical light. Astronomers have been watching Sgr. A* for 20 years, and though the black hole does have some variability in its output, this 75 times normal flaring event is like nothing astronomers have observed before. This peak was over twice as bright as the previous peak flux level.