A new research found by an Indian scientist suggests that the supermassive black hole positioned right in the center of the Milky Way consumed a large clump of in falling gas before burping out a colossal bubble of gas weighing equivalent to millions of suns.
Using the NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, Rongmon Bordoloi and his team of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge found out that several distant quasars can be seen through the northern part of the colossal bubble of gas from the massive black hole known as the Fermi bubbles. The Hubble Telescope probed the information for the movement of the gas towards or away from Earth. The material’s speed helped the research team to reach a conclusion that the event that formed the Fermi bubbles took place between 6 million to 9 million years ago. “Six-nine million years might sound like a long time in human years. But in terms of cosmic timescale, it is like the blink of an eye. Just to give you the scale, the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old, and the dinosaurs became extinct around 66 million years ago. So the last meal that the supermassive black hole of the Milky Way had was after the dinosaurs became extinct. For the first time, we have traced the motion of cool gas throughout one of the bubbles, which allowed us to map the velocity of the gas and calculate when the bubbles formed. It was a very strong and energetic event. It may have been a cloud of gas flowing into the black hole, which fired off jets of matter, forming the twin lobes of hot gas seen in X-ray and gamma-ray observations. Ever since then, the black hole has just been eating snacks”, said Bordoloi.
A black hole can basically be defined as a zone in universe which has a gravitational force in such a high levels that nor mass and nor energy can escape through it. The data shows that the supermassive black hole has compressed the mass of around 4.5 million sun sized stars into a very small region. “There was some increased activity in terms of X-ray flares which could be due to a change in the strength of winds from nearby massive stars that are feeding material to the black hole. But in short, we don’t know when the next big meal would be. There are stars orbiting the galactic center and if the fall into the black hole at some point, we might see a good light show”, he said.