The Sleeping Beast at the heart of the galaxy … and dark matter galaxies?

9 December 2010

At December 7th there are a couple of further baiting posts to stir up conventional thinking. A super massive black hole is thought to lie at the centre of our galaxy – known as Sagittaurus A. Yet, it is quiet – in spite of the size. The energy radiated from around its edges is also very quiet in comparison to black holes that are thought to lie elsewhere in the universe. It is the energy that delineates a black hole, in most cases – but this one is very quiet. One problem broached is that our black hole, the one in the Milky Way, is difficult to spot, apparently, being hidden beneath thick clouds of gas and dust. An infra red image by the Spitzer Space Telescope and an X-ray image from Chandra has prevailed, providing a view devoid of clouds.

A second story from the same site, courtesy of Yale University, is about new findings in our galaxy. Scientists, it is said, can't see dark matter – yet. They can measure its gravitational effect on more substantial material – but it is not visible. Some distant galaxies are so faint they are thought to be swimming in dark matter. One such galaxy, Segue1, has just a hundred visible stars – a paltry number, but it is thought to be a thousand times bigger than what it appears to our observatories here on earth. The answer, it is alleged, is that most of its mass must derive from dark matter.

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