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Weird Object: Black Hole Sagittarius A*

No. 49: Super-Close but Strangely Quiet

MassiveMonster
MASSIVE MONSTER. Hidden behind crowded thick dust is Sagittarius A*, the nearest supermassive black hole. While many other galaxies’ central supermassive black holes spew matter or energy, the monster at the center of our Milky Way remains strangely quiet.
NASA/CXC/MIT/Frederick K. Baganoff, et al.
Until recently, black holes seemed to come in only two sizes: either as a single heavy collapsed sun, or else weighing the same as millions or even billions of stars. Small or large. Only in 2014 did astronomers seemingly confirm the existence of a few intermediate-mass black holes, but still the only ones we're mostly observing are either little or big. An example of the latter sits at the center of every galaxy.

This, happily, includes our Milky Way, because we wouldn’t want to be the only oddball in the neighborhood. But while the supermassive black holes in many other galaxies radiate X-rays or violently spew huge jets of material, ours is strangely quiet. Too quiet. It’s as if we’re hosting a sleeping monster.

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