The supermassive black hole in the center of our Galaxy has been surrounded by a string of tens of thousands of ordinary black holes, observations of the motion of which will help verify Einstein’s theory of relativity, say scientists in an article published in the journal Nature.
“In all of the rest of the galaxy, we managed to open just five hundred black holes, while the theory suggests that in a small region in the center of the Milky Way, whose length, width and height are only six light years, there are at least 10,000 such objects “Only now we have the first evidence in favor of this idea,” said Chuck Hailey of Columbia University in New York, USA.
In the center of the Milky Way, and presumably all other galaxies of the Universe, there is an unusually large black hole. In our case, it is approximately four million times heavier than the Sun and is located at a distance of 26,000 light years from Earth.
This black hole, which astronomers call Sgr A *, surrounds several dozen stars and several large clouds of gas rotating around it at a tremendous speed. When they approach it too close, the tidal forces generated by the attraction of the black hole tear them apart, producing powerful flashes of light.
As Hayley points out, this does not happen in the case of black holes. They do not disintegrate, approaching Sgr A *, and after a while merge with it, without causing any flares, except for a burst of invisible gravitational waves for us. For this reason, scientists have not yet been able to calculate black holes in the center of the Milky Way and to check whether their number of theories describing the life of galaxies correctly predicts.
American astrophysicists managed to get the first evidence that they exist, and to calculate the total number of these black holes, drawing attention to the fact that some of them will revolve around the center of the Galaxy not alone, but in the company of an ordinary star, pulsar or some other visible object.
As a rule, with the formation of such a pair, a black hole begins to “steal” matter gradually from a less dense and more dimensional star. If there is too much gas and dust, the singularity does not have time to completely swallow them, as a result of which a peculiar “bagel” of hot gas and dust arises in the vicinity of the hole, inside which periodic X-ray flashes occur.
These beams of light, as the astrophysicist explains, have a relatively low brightness in comparison with other stellar cataclysms, but they occur quite often and have an unusual spectrum. This allows them to be easily distinguished from other objects in the center of the Milky Way.
Guided by this idea, Hayley and his colleagues analyzed images of the Sgr A * neighborhoods that were received by the orbiting Telescope Chandra in the last ten years, and tried to find similar pairs of black holes and ordinary stars on them.
In total, they managed to find just 12 such objects at a short distance from the supermassive black hole, half of which can be pairs of pulsars and black holes. Their location and properties, in turn, indicate that around Sgr A * revolve about five hundred of these binary stars, and about 10,000 single black holes.
“We managed to confirm one of the key astronomical theories, and noticeably advance in checking many other ideas.This discovery, for example, will help us better observe the gravitational waves, since now we have the opportunity to accurately assess how many mergers of black holes can occur in the Milky Way.It turns out that everything we need can be found in the center of our Galaxy, “concludes Haley.