6 million years ago, the core of our galaxy erupted with a powerful flash

The center of the milky way today is a peaceful place where peacefully snuffle” supermassive black hole, only occasionally swallowing small portions of hydrogen gas. However, it was not always so. A new study shows that six million years ago, when the surface of the Earth roamed the distant ancestors of man, the core of our galaxy erupted with a powerful flash. The proof of this fact, researchers find the problem of missing mass in our galaxy.

Measurements show that the mass of our milky way galaxy is 1 to 2 trillion solar masses. Approximately five-sixths of the mass is in the form of an invisible and mysterious dark matter. The remaining one-sixth the mass of the Galaxy, or 150-300 billion solar masses, is a normal matter. However, if you count all the stars, gas and dust that we see, you get only a total of 65 billion solar masses. The question arises: where is “hidden” the rest of the normal matter in our galaxy?

In the new study, astronomers led by Fabrizio Nicastro, a researcher with the Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysical center, US, have analysed archival observations of our galaxy in x-rays collected by the space telescope XMM-Newton, and found that “the missing mass” is in the form of a “mist” of gas heated to temperatures of millions of Kelvins, which pervades the entire Galaxy. This “fog” absorbs x-rays coming from distant sources.

The use of the data of computer simulation showed that this “gas mist” is distributed in our galaxy is uneven: in the center of the milky way has a large “bubble” of radius of about two-thirds of the distance from the center of our galaxy to the Solar system. According to the authors of the study the emergence of this bubble is due to the activity of the Central supermassive black hole of the milky way, which six million years ago actively absorbed gas, and part of this gas under the event horizon of a black hole, were thrown outward with great speed of about 1,000 kilometers per second. Over the past since that time 6 million years the bubble has grown to the size of about 20,000 light-years radius.

Confirmation of his hypothesis Nicastro and his colleagues call presence near the galactic center stars by the age of six million years, the appearance of which, they believe, is due to the action of the shock wave front.

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