Astronomers said that they observed the supermassive black hole closest to Earth glowing with “unprecedented brightness” — and they aren’t quite sure why.
The black hole, known as Sagittarius A* or Sgr A*, is four million times as massive as the Sun and about 26,000 light years from Earth. Although no visible light can escape the gravitational pull of a black hole, astronomers are able to observe the hot gas that’s about to fall into it in near-infrared, the portion of the infrared spectrum closest to light detectable by the human eye.
“So we observed basically four nights of observation this year. On one of the nights its brightness was about twice as bright as the brightest measurement in the past 20 years,” said Tuan Do, an associate research scientist and