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Milky Way's monster black hole awoke 300 years ago
AFP on Yahoo ^ | 4/15/08 | AFP

Posted on 04/15/2008 12:33:38 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

PARIS (AFP) - A black hole slumbering at the centre of our galaxy went into a "feeding frenzy" three centuries ago, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Tuesday.

Located around 26,000 light years from Earth, the black hole, known as Sagittarius A-star (Sgr A*), is a monster with a mass four million times that of the Sun.

Japanese astronomers, using ESA's XMM-Newton orbital telescope and US and Japanese X-ray satellites, discovered that clouds of gas brightened and faded in X-ray light when they passed near Sgr A*'s maw, ESA said in a press release.

The phenomenon is due to X-ray pulses that are believed to be residual bursts from a flare that happened 300 years ago.

"We have wondered why the Milky Way's black hole appears to be a slumbering giant," team leader Tatsuya Inui of Kyoto University said.

"But now we realise that the black hole was far more active in the past. Perhaps it's just resting after a major outburst."

One theory is that a few centuries ago, the powerful gravitational pull of the black hole engulfed clouds of gas from an exploding star called a supernova, ESA said.

The "temporary feeding frenzy" caused X-ray energy to leap from its mouth in a giant flare.


TOPICS: Astronomy; Chit/Chat; Science
KEYWORDS: awoke; blackhole; catastrophism; milkyway; monster; sagittarius

Chandra's view of Sagittarius A*, the Milky Way's central black hole, in 2005. (AFP/NASA-HO/File)


1 posted on 04/15/2008 12:33:38 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=42587

X-ray Echoes of a Past Outburst of Sgr A*
15 Apr 2008

In a forthcoming paper, the history of the X-ray brightness of Sgr A*, the massive black hole at the heart of our Galaxy, is derived from observations made over a 11-year period by four X-ray observatories. The results are based on X-ray line emission from molecular clouds, considered to be reflecting Sgr A*’s X-ray emission with a delay time of 300 years.

Sgr A* is a compact radio source located at the dynamical centre of our Galaxy as confirmed by, for example, its apparent motion (solely due to our own motion around the Galactic centre) and the orbits of stars close to the Galactic centre. It is generally believed to be a massive black hole of several million solar masses.

Currently, Sgr A* is observed to be in a quiescent state. Its X-ray luminosity is several orders of magnitude below that of active galactic nuclei with a comparable sized black hole. This is the case even during the known frequent flaring events of Sgr A* when the flux increases by a factor of ~10. Observed events in our Galaxy’s central region actually occurred ~26 000 years ago as we are at a distance of about 8 kpc from the Galactic centre.

—snip—


2 posted on 04/15/2008 12:35:29 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: NormsRevenge
For some reason 26,000 light years doesn't seem far enough to dispel concern.
3 posted on 04/15/2008 12:37:28 PM PDT by wolfcreek (I see miles and miles of Texas....let's keep it that way.)
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To: NormsRevenge
went into a "feeding frenzy" three centuries ago ... located around 26,000 light years from Earth

Does this mean that we will begin to detect evidence of the feeding frenzy 25,700 years from now?

4 posted on 04/15/2008 12:37:39 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: NormsRevenge

Bush’s fault!


5 posted on 04/15/2008 12:39:49 PM PDT by bobjam
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To: wolfcreek
For some reason 26,000 light years doesn't seem far enough to dispel concern.

Wake me up 25,999 years from now to be concerned.

6 posted on 04/15/2008 12:41:20 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: NormsRevenge

Wow, 26,000 light years away and we know what happened 300 years ago. Time travel is here!!!


7 posted on 04/15/2008 12:44:17 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Who Would Montgomery Brewster Choose?)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Yes... the Milky Way’s largest belch!


8 posted on 04/15/2008 12:44:17 PM PDT by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: NormsRevenge

This is my galaxie. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
(You may use it, but bus your own trays.)


9 posted on 04/15/2008 12:44:34 PM PDT by tumblindice (Quomodo cogis comas tuas sic videri?)
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To: mnehrling

What has ME concerned are the remarks that the galaxy center is 26,000 years away.... and they are talking about xrays originating 300 years ago???

Ummm xrays are the same as light or other radio frequency energy, thus travel at the speed of light... Which means, we didn’t detect it YET if it just started “300 years” ago.

Someone has their head firmly planted somewhere other than in the stars, or in astrophysics (Astrophysics doesn’t change the math, sorry)


10 posted on 04/15/2008 12:44:56 PM PDT by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Please visit for latest on DPRK/Russia/China/et al.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

No, it means it happened ~26,000 years ago, and we’re just now seeing it.

Yet another example of a “journalist” reporting on something way outside their depth.


11 posted on 04/15/2008 12:45:27 PM PDT by Little Pig (Is it time for "Cowboys and Muslims" yet?)
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To: NormsRevenge

If the gases illuminated when they passed near the black hole, and
If the black hole is 26,000 light years away, and
If the black hole awoke only 300 years ago, THEN
How could the brighter light from the illuminated gas have reached us by now to figure this out?

What do I know . . .I’m a only a banker.


12 posted on 04/15/2008 12:46:30 PM PDT by RatRipper
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To: NormsRevenge

Don’t we need to wait another 25,700 years to know what it was doing 300 years ago?


13 posted on 04/15/2008 12:47:22 PM PDT by LexBaird (Behold, thou hast drinken of the Aide of Kool, and are lost unto Men.)
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To: LexBaird

Yes. lol


14 posted on 04/15/2008 12:48:05 PM PDT by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Please visit for latest on DPRK/Russia/China/et al.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Monster black hole? 300 years ago?

I had no idea Michael Moore was that old.


15 posted on 04/15/2008 12:49:19 PM PDT by Choose Ye This Day (In every good man a god doth dwell. -- Seneca)
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To: NormsRevenge; All

Whoever wrote this is an idiot. Here’s better explanation.

The black hole is 26,000 light years away. 300 years ago plus 26,000 years, a major supernova flare occured. It ejected massive clouds of gas. Those gases took 300 years to reach the vicinity of the black hole, and the effect the black hole had on that gas is just now reaching us. All the excitement happened back when humans were still duking it out with each other over who got the best mammoth steaks.


16 posted on 04/15/2008 12:50:00 PM PDT by Little Pig (Is it time for "Cowboys and Muslims" yet?)
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To: Choose Ye This Day

Or Helen Thomas!.............


17 posted on 04/15/2008 12:51:36 PM PDT by Red Badger ( We don't have science, but we do have consensus.......)
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To: NormsRevenge
The international agency has renamed Sgr A* as Algore:


18 posted on 04/15/2008 12:52:50 PM PDT by mikrofon (WARNING: Massive objects are much closer than they appear!)
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To: NormsRevenge
“The phenomenon is due to X-ray pulses that are believed to be residual bursts from a flare that happened 300 years ago.”

I am confused. If it is 26,000 light years away, how do we know what happened 300 years ago????

19 posted on 04/15/2008 12:54:04 PM PDT by AlexW (Reporting from Bratislava, Slovakia. Happy not to be back in the USA for now.)
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To: NormsRevenge

John Wheeler not available for comment.


20 posted on 04/15/2008 12:55:33 PM PDT by Westlander (Unleash the Neutron Bomb)
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To: NormsRevenge

Wouldn’t that really be 26,300 years ago?


21 posted on 04/15/2008 12:57:23 PM PDT by TheThirdRuffian (McCain is the best candidate of the Democrat party.)
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To: TheThirdRuffian

Man, I was late to the party.


22 posted on 04/15/2008 12:58:14 PM PDT by TheThirdRuffian (McCain is the best candidate of the Democrat party.)
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To: NormsRevenge; Charles Henrickson; martin_fierro
The "temporary feeding frenzy" caused X-ray energy to leap from its mouth in a giant flare

Further evidence leading to their decision:


23 posted on 04/15/2008 12:58:41 PM PDT by mikrofon (X-rayted Expulsion)
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To: NormsRevenge

bump


24 posted on 04/15/2008 12:58:43 PM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: Red Badger

I guess the part about going on a “feedling frenzy” made me think of Michael Moore.


25 posted on 04/15/2008 12:58:56 PM PDT by Choose Ye This Day (Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. (Psalms 82:6))
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To: Choose Ye This Day

oops.

FEEDING frenzy, not “feedling”


26 posted on 04/15/2008 12:59:31 PM PDT by Choose Ye This Day (Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. (Psalms 82:6))
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To: NormsRevenge

I’ll blame the journo for this blooper: It is impossible to determine what took place 300 years ago on an object that is 26,000 light years away.


27 posted on 04/15/2008 1:00:27 PM PDT by Squawk 8888 (TSA and DHS are jobs programs for people who are not smart enough to flip burgers)
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To: TheThirdRuffian
Yes. It happened roughly 26,300 years ago. 300 years ago we might have been able to see it “happen” (i.e. light from the actual event finally reaches us). Now looking at it we see evidence of an event 300 years old that took 26,000 years to reach us.
28 posted on 04/15/2008 1:05:07 PM PDT by allmendream
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To: RatRipper
The black hole awoke about 26,000 +- {error in distance to black hole} - 2 (150 +- {error in distance from black hole to gas cloud on other side}). Assuming the 26000 and 150 are good numbers.

It can't be quite that simple or the gas cloud would be behind the black hole.

The X-rays from the 'feeding frenzy' are long gone. Humans were too busy killing each other to notice. If we had we might be able to use this pulse as a fine calibration tool on distances at the galactic center. We still can, it will just take many years and additional gas clouds lighting up.

In any case I'm inclined to give the journalist a pass on this one. If the journalist had actually understood he or she would have been unable to convey it to the public without resorting to some lame metaphor (cosmic echo) that would only serve to get the mouth breathers to think they understand.

They should include a diagram. Language is a really blunt instrument.

29 posted on 04/15/2008 1:05:30 PM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: NonValueAdded

Hehe! I think they need a new science editor.


30 posted on 04/15/2008 1:12:57 PM PDT by TheDon
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To: Little Pig
Mmmmmmmmm.... mammoth steaks...


31 posted on 04/15/2008 1:18:02 PM PDT by Mr. K (Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help)
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To: Dinsdale

Karl Schwarzschild could have supplied an equation to explain it.


32 posted on 04/15/2008 1:19:47 PM PDT by Westlander (Unleash the Neutron Bomb)
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To: NormsRevenge
The phenomenon is due to X-ray pulses that are believed to be residual bursts from a flare that happened 300 years ago.

A flare affecting something 26,000 light years away?

WOW! News travels fast.

33 posted on 04/15/2008 1:31:36 PM PDT by AndyTheBear (Disastrous social experimentation is the opiate of elitist snobs.)
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To: Squawk 8888
I’ll blame the journo for this blooper: It is impossible to determine what took place 300 years ago on an object that is 26,000 light years away.

Impossible?

Maybe this was a very resourceful reporter who knew some trade secrets about how to get the scoop first ;-)

34 posted on 04/15/2008 1:35:48 PM PDT by AndyTheBear (Disastrous social experimentation is the opiate of elitist snobs.)
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To: Little Pig
Yet another example of a “journalist” reporting on something way outside their depth.

I notice they also had to tell us there was an exploding star, called a supernova. Everyone I know, and pretty much everyone who is going to bother reading this article, already knows what a supernova is. Except the guy who wrote the article, I guess.

35 posted on 04/15/2008 1:47:52 PM PDT by webheart
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To: NormsRevenge

Carl Sagan was only half right. We need to be a two universe species not a two planet species.


36 posted on 04/15/2008 2:06:32 PM PDT by Carl from Marietta (Go see Ben Stein's new movie, Do it now!!!!)
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To: NormsRevenge

What is the chance that clouds of gas exist between us and the supernova, with a 300-light-year added path difference compared to straight line-of-sight with the supernova? As seen by us, those clouds would be lighting up right now in the reflected light of the supernova, which may be detectable. If the clouds were large, we should see a spherical shell of illumination traversing them (at the speed of light). Parts would light up or disappear as the supernova’s light hit new patches, or traversed beyond the spatial extent of patches previously illuminated.


37 posted on 04/15/2008 3:16:28 PM PDT by coloradan (The US is becoming a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Remind me in 26,699 years.


38 posted on 04/15/2008 3:55:52 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes: Flood, Fire, and Famine in the History of Civilization The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes:
Flood, Fire, and Famine
in the History of Civilization

by Richard Firestone,
Allen West, and
Simon Warwick-Smith


39 posted on 04/17/2008 11:27:58 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_____________________Profile updated Saturday, March 29, 2008)
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To: 75thOVI; AFPhys; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BenLurkin; ...
 
Catastrophism
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic ·

40 posted on 04/17/2008 11:28:30 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_____________________Profile updated Saturday, March 29, 2008)
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