Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole to Light Up in 2013?

Tags:
  1. Dec 19, 2011 #1

    chemisttree

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    As far as I know, the only evidence of a supermassive black hole (SMBH) at the center of our Milky Way has been it's gravitational effect on stars that zip around near the center of our galaxy and a radio signature. That's about to change in 2013 when a stream of ionized dust and gas begin it's death spiral into the void. It should be really cool to see our very own SMBH transform from the invisible monster it is into a brightly lit monster! Hopefully it will be bright enough to see visually.

    link
    Better link
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 19, 2011 #2

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    WoooO! Should be quite a show! If you can see in the radio or microwave spectrum at least.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  4. Dec 20, 2011 #3
    Unfortunately, we can't see anything in the center of our galaxy in the visual wavelength. There's too much dust in the way.
     
  5. Jan 6, 2012 #4
    So we'll be capturing using audio waves and then interpreting? Or would the dust interfere with audio too?
     
  6. Jan 6, 2012 #5

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Sound waves cannot propagate through space, the density is way too low for that. Since we can't "see" it, meaning we cant image it in visible light, we have to look in other wavelengths such as Infrared or Radio where the longer wavelengths allow the light to pass through the dust relatively unimpeded.
     
  7. Jan 7, 2012 #6
    actually,,,why doesn't the black hole form visible light rays while engulfing these dust?
     
  8. Jan 7, 2012 #7

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The matter from the accretion disk does generate light as it heats up while falling in. The light is blocked by dust in between us and the black hole. This dust is mostly in the spiral arms, not right next to the black hole.
     
  9. Jan 10, 2012 #8
    Actually, I remember reading about a kind of sound wave in space, or at leas the interstellar medium. The shock waves formed by supernovae are so large that the difference between the average density of the interstellar medium and the surface area of the shock wave would be comparable to sound waves on a human scale in a more dense medium.

    ...or something like that, sadly I don't remember where I read this :(
     
  10. Jan 10, 2012 #9

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I remember reading something similar I think, but I'm betting that it isn't what most would consider "propagation of a sound wave".
     
  11. Jan 11, 2012 #10
    I heard about the gas cloud. Its funny to think that it already happened thousands of years ago
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole to Light Up in 2013?
Loading...