More Images of Sagittarius A*
Chandra Image of Region Around Milky Way's Black Hole
The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way (known as
Sagittarius A* or Sgr A* for short) has surprisingly helped spawn a new generation of stars, according to observations from Chandra. This novel mode of star formation may solve several mysteries about the supermassive black holes that reside at the centers of nearly all galaxies.
Image is 8.4 arcmin on a side.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/MIT/F.K. Baganoff et al.)
More Information on Sagittarius A*
Artist's Illustration of Star Formation Around Black Hole
The artist's depiction on the left demonstrates what scientists believe is happening
very close to Sgr A*. The supermassive black hole is surrounded by a
disk of gas (yellow and red). Massive stars, shown in blue, have formed
in this disk, while small disks represent where stars are still forming.
The Chandra results show that stars have formed locally in this disk,
rather than being deposited there by a star cluster. The second illustration shows the resulting ring of massive stars, which are observable with infrared telescopes.
Scenario Dismissed by Chandra Results
The illustration in the upper panel shows the early formation of a star
cluster (shown with red gas). To the right of the star cluster is a
supermassive black hole surrounded by a disk of red and yellow gas. The
lower panel shows the cluster moving towards the supermassive black hole
after formation of massive stars (shown in blue) and low-mass stars (shown
in red). The cluster will eventually be pulled apart by gravity from the
black hole, leaving behind rings of stars.
Illustrations of Stars Forming Around Black Hole
This sequence of images shows a disk of red and yellow gas around a supermassive
black hole. As the view pulls back, the formation of stars in the outer
regions of the disk is seen. These massive stars form when the gas
becomes unstable, despite the black hole's enormous gravitational
influence, and collapses inwards.
Return to Sagittarius A* (13 Oct 05)
Sagittarius A* with Scale Bar