INTEGRAL Image of the Galactic Center
Credit: G. Bélanger, A. Goldwurm, P. Goldoni (IBIS team/CEA-Saclay) et al.; ESA

The Monster Awakens?

At the center of our own Galaxy lies a monster, a supermassive black hole. This monster is usually pretty dormant, rather faint in its high energy emission and without the extremes of activity seen in other supermassive black holes. But don't turn your back on a monster - when you do they start to act up. A recent report regarding an INTEGRAL high energy X-ray observation of the center of our Galaxy, shown above, shows that a source has appeared coincident with what is believed to be the supermassive black hole at the nucleus of our Galaxy, an object called Sgr A*. The image above is the central 4 square degrees of the Galaxy in the energy band 20 to 40 keV; the source marked Sgr A* has recently appeared, and remains visible up to 100 keV. Generally black holes are quiet unless they swallow something; the question is what did Sgr A* eat?

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:25:29 EDT