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Published:October 23rd, 2012 21:24 EST
Massive Flare From Milky Way's Black Hole Revealed by NASA

Massive Flare From Milky Way's Black Hole Revealed by NASA

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) revealed a massive flare coming from a giant black hole named  Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at the center of our galaxy.

NuSTAR was launched on June 13, 2012 and according to NASA is the strongest-energy X-ray telescope in the world capable of producing extremely focused images.  

"We got lucky to have captured an outburst from the black hole during our observing campaign," said Fiona Harrison, the mission`s principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena. "This data will help us better understand the gentle giant at the heart of our galaxy and why it sometimes flares up for a few hours and then returns to slumber."

During a two day period in July, the NuSTAR telescope teamed up with other observatories to observe Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

NASA`s Chandra X-ray Observatory, which has the ability to see lower-energy X-ray light was one of the participating telescopes along with the W.M. Keck Observatory, which took infrared images.

"Astronomers have long speculated that the black hole`s snacking should produce copious hard X-rays, but NuSTAR is the first telescope with sufficient sensitivity to actually detect them," said NuSTAR team member Chuck Hailey of Columbia University in New York City. 

Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) is relatively inactive in conparsion with some of the other black holes that litter our universe. Researchers are still trying to understand why more active black holes eat the stars and other fuel around them and Sgr A*only to nibbles on them.

NASA stated that these new observations will help researchers understand the physics of how black holes feed and get larger.

The new images can be seen by visiting:
http://www.nasa.gov/nustar


For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov