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Swallowing the Stars

8 November 2012

At http://phys.org/print271445295.html … according to Big Bang theory and a computer simulation of the evolving universe the rate of formation of new stars has declined and will continue to decline if the pattern generated by their computer model is to be taken at face value (published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society).

At http://phys.org/print271408620.html … it seems a bright new flare has been observed in the centre of our galaxy and this is said to emanate from the black hole lurking at the heart of the Milky Way. This interpretation is a straight derivation from the theory that earlier, less intense, flashes of light are evidence of a black hole swalling stars. It was, in fact, a huge X-ray flare that occurred in the vicinity of the hypothetical supermassive black hole – known as Sagitarius A. Once a day, or mostly so, the black hole is said to rouse itself into action, emitting a brief burst of light. It then settles back down again – into slumber mold. It is not known what causes the flare-ups but there has recently been a much bigger one than normal. The biggest ever recorded. This sounds like a long time but in the real world it amounts to just a few years back. After all, how long have we had those big telescope things, and when was the link between flares and black holes first noted – or promoted. The big one lasted over an hour. Black holes, we are informed, are detected by their light energy given off as they move through and swallow nearby matter – such as stars and things. Quasars are sort of young black holes and are very bright, giving off massive amounts of energy as they swallow and gulp down everything around them. Black holes differ as it has recently been calculated they don't perform as the consensus view allows. They aren't very active – which means, it is thought, they are blowing away more matter than they are consuming. Common sense 'innit. Black holes don't have the big appetites that quasars possess – and yes, this is real speak and not made up. They are, we are assured, and they know best, somewhat finnicky eaters. Now, it seems that Sagitarius A might be getting a bit of an appetite by becoming, on one occasion at least, less lethargic in its swallowing capacity. Sagitarius A is feeling peckish – must just be the explanation, eh.

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