OCT 22, 2018 6:48 PM PDT

What Are Those Strange Objects Orbiting Sagittarius A*?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Sagittarius A* is a black hole that resides at the center of the Milky Way. Astronomers estimate that Sagittarius A* sports the same amount of mass as four million Suns would, but that’s not why astronomers are so captivated by it.

Surrounding Sagittarius A* is a complex structure comprised of both dust and gas, but astronomers have discerned at least five objects of interest within this structure that were never expected. These objects have since been called ‘G-objects.’

At first glance, these G-objects appear very grainy in telescope images. The findings initially led astronomers to think they were just small dust clouds orbiting Sagittarius A*, but additional research revealed how they didn’t behave the way a dust cloud would when orbiting around a black hole.

Rather than being ripped apart by the immense gravitational influence of Sagittarius A*, these ‘dust clouds’ stayed intact. Astronomers instead theorized that they might have been massive stars that merged at some point in history. The high-energy influence at work here would explain their grainy appearance in telescope images.

Astronomers will get their next chance to study a G-object in about 20 more years, so with a little patience, perhaps we’ll learn more about their true identity.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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