New Insights Into the Physics of Supermassive Black Holes

 

Quasar

 

“The black holes of nature are the most perfect macroscopic objects there are in the universe: the only elements in their construction are our concepts of space and time,” said astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. Chandrasekhar first demonstrated that at the end of a star’s life, if its remaining mass is greater than 1.4 times our sun’s mass, then its ultimate fate will be rather strange, collapsing under its own gravity to reach enormous density as a neutron star or black hole.

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“Chaos Central” -Huge Nebulous Ring Observed Around Milky Way’s Black Hole

 

Accretion Disk of Milky Way Supermassive Black Hole

 

Through decades of study, astronomers have developed a clearer picture of the chaotic and crowded neighborhood surrounding the supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, at the center of the Milky Way — a region dense with roving stars, interstellar dust clouds, and a large reservoir of both phenomenally hot and comparatively colder gases. These gases are expected to orbit the black hole in a vast accretion disk that’s siphoning material extending a few tenths of a light-year from the black hole’s event horizon. (more…)