The supermassive Sagittarius A black hole at the center of our galaxy is spinning so fast that it warps space-time, giving it an oval shape similar to a rugby ball. Astronomers made this incredible discovery using radio and X-ray observations from the Very Large Array ground-based radio telescope complex and NASA’s Chandra Space Observatory, and an article about it was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Space-time is a fundamental coordinate system that completely determines the interposition of objects and events, both spatially and chronologically. According to Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, when a massive object rotates, it warps space-time around it. This is especially true when objects with enormous masses, such as supermassive black holes, rotate. The higher the rotation rate of a black hole, the more space-time curves in its vicinity.

It is not easy to determine the rotation speed of Sagittarius A at the center of the Milky Way (with a mass of 4 million times the mass of the Sun). The authors of the study used an emission measurement method to determine the angular velocity of the black hole (i.e., the speed of rotation around an axis expressed in the number of revolutions per second). This method, at first glance, may seem paradoxical, because it is known that black holes absorb matter; However, astronomers say that emissions from a black hole are magnetically collimated jets of matter that emit large amounts of radio waves, and hot clumps of plasma (ionized gas) that generate X-rays. They were measured by scientists.

The astronomers’ discovery is very important for studying the past and future activity of a supermassive black hole. The speed of its rotation is related to the power of the ejections into space, and the Fermi bubbles that can be seen in X-rays and gamma rays around Sagittarius A are likely to trap gas in the galaxy, which prevents the rapid formation of new stars, and can negatively affect the process of star formation in general.

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