A team of researchers announces that they have identified six unknown objects with strange behavior around the super massive black hole of our galaxy.
Our Solar System evolves in a very quiet suburb of the Milky Way. In the “city center”, however, the environment is not at all the same. The density of stars is a billion times higher, which means that the gravitational and magnetic fields are much stronger. This extreme physics fascinates astronomers. Of course, you don’t expect to understand everything the first time.
Six objects with strange behavior
Anna Ciurlo of UCLA has been studying the galactic center for twenty years. She and her team are keenly interested in the influence of the super massive black hole inside it on the surrounding interstellar medium.
In 2005, they discovered a strange object called G1. It is a kind of cloud of gas and dust stretching about 100 times the distance Earth – Sun. However, surprisingly, this object did not behave like a cloud, but like a star. The researchers, puzzled, then discovered a second object of the same kind in 2012 called G2. Recently, they isolated four others (G3, G4, G5 and G6).
“We knew G1 and G2, but we did not expect there to be a population of such objects”, continues the researcher. “Since there are many, it means that it is not just a coincidence. There has to be a mechanism to train them. ”
Remains of stars hidden inside?
In 2014, researchers had the opportunity to analyze the behavior of G2 as it approached the black hole. However, while they expected the object to be swallowed, he emerged unscathed from the encounter. It expanded, of course, but it survived and eventually returned to its original form.
We still don’t know what it is, but the discovery of four more of these objects could help solve this mystery. The researchers nevertheless have a track. If G2 had been composed entirely of gas, it would indeed have been swallowed by the black hole. The fact that he did not allow himself to be dragged could suggest that an object is hiding inside the cloud. But what type of object?
“We think this may be the remnant of a merger between two stars. It could be a stellar core wrapped in gas and dust, “suggests the researcher. “We know that many stars form in pairs and we know that the presence of the black hole promotes their fusion. This is not the only possible explanation, but it is the one that best fits what we have observed. “