Sagittarius A* in 60 Seconds
Narrator (Megan Watzke, CXC): Astronomers have long known that the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy is a particularly poor eater. The fuel for this black hole, known as Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A* for short), comes from powerful winds blown off nearby stars. Scientists have previously calculated that Sgr A* should consume about one percent of the fuel carried in the winds. However, it now appears that Sgr A* consumes much less than even that. It only ingests about one percent of that one percent. Why does it consume so little? A theoretical model based on these new deep data seen in this Chandra image may provide the answer. It turns out that there is an inner and outer region around the black hole. Pressure flowing outward causes nearly all of the gas to move away from the black hole. This in turn starves the black hole of much of its fuel, and this is why astronomers have seen so little activity from this, our closest supermassive black hole.