The center of the Milky Way exploded 3.5 million years ago

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Not so long ago, scientists believed that the black hole at the center of the Milky Way behaved fairly quietly on cosmic scales. However, a new study, soon to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, refers to a titanically expanding energy beam that erupted 3.5 million years ago from a black hole in the center of our galaxy and a cone-shaped burst of radiation through both poles of the galaxy into space sent. Experts believe that the mysterious Fermi bubbles are large structures located above and below the center of the galaxy and are traces of this ancient explosion.

Trace of the explosion 3.5 million years ago

What is a Seyfert flash?

As you know, the Milky Way is a spiral. At the same time, about 1% of all spiral galaxies observed by astronomers have an extremely active nucleus with a fairly large mass. From time to time, this core ejects a large amount of high velocity gas into space. Such eruptions are accompanied by a sharp increase in the black hole's brightness and are referred to as Seyfert flashes. Galaxies are Seyfert galaxies.

This is how the mysterious Fermi bubbles look.

In a recent study, Australian and American scientists, led by Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorne of the University of Sydney, found that the outbreak at the center of the Milky Way 3.5 million years ago was so powerful that it affected the Magellan current long gas path, the nearby dwarf galaxies, called the large and small Magellanic clouds. The Magellan Current is 200,000 light-years away from the Milky Way.

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According to experts, the explosion was too intense to cause another nuclear activity associated with a black hole in the center of the Milky Way, known as Sagittarius A *. Remember that the mass of Sagittarius A * is 4.2 million times the mass of the Sun. Conclusions were drawn, among other things, from the data obtained from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Beam of light in the dark

A powerful explosion of energy and radiation went straight from the center of the galaxy into the surrounding space. This shows that the center of the Milky Way is a much more dynamic place than the scientists previously thought. In addition, the galactic explosion recently occurred. Three and a half million years ago Australopitheks traveled Africa with all their might and strength.

The artist's impression of massive bursts of ionizing radiation leaking from the center of the Milky Way and affecting the Magellan current. Posted by James Josephides / ASTRO 3D

A preprint of the study is available on the University of Sydney website. The results change our understanding of the Milky Way according to experts. In the past, astronomers considered our galaxy inactive with a less bright center. Now the results have opened up the possibility of completely rethinking its evolution and nature.

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Another important part of the study is the fact that scientists still have much to learn about the black hole in the center of the Milky Way. After all, it is an outstanding problem of modern astrophysics, how black holes develop, influence galaxies and interact with them.