Black holes, if described in layman’s language, is a region of space from which nothing can escape. They are dark objects which lurk ominously than twinkle cheerfully.
But the nearest supermassive hole to Planet Earth has bucked that trend and has been observed glowing more brightly than at any other point in its recorded history.
Even light can not travel fast enough to escape their mighty maws as they are so dense.
However, the greedy monsters can also produce an eerie glow in the right circumstances.
Black holes, for instance are often surrounded by an ‘accretion disc’ of gas and other material which shines brightly due to the forces of friction and gravity.
This phenomenon is what allowed astronomers to take the first-ever picture of a black hole earlier this year, which showed a bright accretion disc surrounding a dark core.
Recently a team from the University of California have spotted Sagittarius A* – the supermassive hole at the centre of humanity’s home galaxy – shining 75 times brighter than usual.
Scientists are currently racing to understand why the supermassive mega-beast is glowing so brightly. The behaviour has yet be fully explained and they are working very hard to come out with a rational explanation about this.
Possibly, this transformation is caused by an increase in the amount of gas being sucked into the black hole.
A star called S0-2 passed by Sagittarius A* in 2018 and may have caused a reaction which sent more gas gushing into the hole.
Tuan Do, lead author of a paper on the hole’s strange glow said in a tweet that the brightness variations are likely related to the amount of gas that falls into the black hole.
The most important question we have is whether this increased activity means the there is something going on that is changing the gas flow and if so, how long this will last?’
Scientists say there are numerous prospects which could explain the celestial light show – including the possibility that everything we thought we knew about black holes is wrong.