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Giant Black Hole at Milky Way's Core Stays Slim

thomst (1640045) writes | more than 4 years ago

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thomst (1640045) writes "A team of researchers from Harvard and MIT announced at the 215th meeting of the American Astronomical Society a new theoretical model of how the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way consumes gas from surrounding star clusters, based on a million seconds of observation by the orbital Chandra X-ray telescope. Astronomers had previously believed that the object, known as Sagittarius A* (pronounced "Sagittarius A-Star") consumed only around one percent of the gases it stripped from the star clusters around it, but the new model reduces its consumption to 0.01 percent (i.e. — two orders of magnitude). Physorg.com's uncredited reporter gets the story right, while space.com's Andrea Thomspon clearly doesn't understand the mechanism behind the phenomenon (essentially, thermal conduction from the extremely-hot accretion disk heats the surrounding gas, causing it to expand, and thus move away from Sagittarius A*'s gravity well)."
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