#Astronomy; #BlackHole; #FourNewDiscoveries; #BinaryStars
California (U.S.), Jan 18 (Canadian-Media): Unusual objects that look like gas and behave like stars, said the astronomers, have been spotted near our galaxy’s enormous black hole, media reports said.
Closely orbiting a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A* located some 26,000 light years away from Earth, four new discoveries have been found.
Scientists have been intrigued with this, along with G1 and G2, which were found in 2005 and 2014 respectively, because they seem to be compact most of the time but stretch out as they get closer to the black hole during their orbit.
These orbits are also a much longer than the 365 days Earth takes to move around our sun, ranging from about 100 to 1,000 years.
These four new discoveries had been named as G3, G4, G5 and G6 by the researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The group explained its belief in the Nature journal, that all six were once binary stars – a pair of stars which orbit each other – later merging as one due to the powerful gravitational force of black hole.
Co-author Andrea Ghez said that this merging process is not done overnight and that it takes more than one million years to complete.
“Mergers of stars may be happening in the universe more often than we thought, and likely are quite common,” she explained.
“Black holes may be driving binary stars to merge. It’s possible that many of the stars we’ve been watching and not understanding may be the end product of mergers that are calm now.
“We are learning how galaxies and black holes evolve. The way binary stars interact with each other and with the black hole is very different from how single stars interact with other single stars and with the black hole.”
Other potential objects that may be part of the same family are already being looked into by the team.
The research will help shine a light on what is happening in the majority of galaxies in our universe, says the team, though Earth is quite a distance from the action, “in the suburbs compared to the centre of the galaxy”, Ms Ghez added.