Our galaxy’s black hole may have made a huge X-ray flare 205 years ago

An image of an area of space filled with red and blue gas, and scattered stars

The region of space around Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy

NASA/CXC/Univ. of Wisconsin/Y.Ba

The colossal black hole at the centre of the Milky Way hasn’t always been so quiet.

Our galaxy’s supermassive black hole, called Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), is relatively inactive now, but observations of the gas clouds around it hint that it may have released a powerful blast of X-rays about 205 years ago.

When a black hole puts out an X-ray flare, that radiation can bounce off any gas in the …

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