Baby stars buzz around our galaxy’s black hole like bees

Credit: DALL.E.

High-speed baby stars have been found circling the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at the center of our galaxy, behaving like a swarm of bees.

These young stellar objects (YSOs) were discovered by astronomers and show surprising behavior that challenges current theories.

Researchers from the University of Cologne, Masaryk University, Charles University, the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy have published a study in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Their work reveals that these YSOs move in similar orbits to previously known young stars, known as S stars, around Sgr A*.

About 30 years ago, scientists discovered these dynamic S stars near Sgr A*. These stars move at speeds of several thousand kilometers per hour and complete their orbits in just a few years.

The presence of these young stars close to the black hole was puzzling because it was expected that only old, dim stars would be found in such a harsh environment.

Technological advances in recent decades have allowed astronomers to observe the galactic center more closely.

In 2012, they found an object they thought was a gas cloud being pulled into the black hole. This theory wasn’t confirmed, and it has since been suggested that the object might be a YSO surrounded by a dusty cloud.

Recent research has identified a dozen more objects near the black hole that share properties with S stars. These new objects are even younger than the already known high-speed stars.

Dr. Florian Peißker from the University of Cologne, the study’s corresponding author, explained, “These YSOs exhibit the same behavior as S stars, orbiting the supermassive black hole at incredible speeds.”

The discovery of these young stars so close to the black hole was unexpected.

According to Dr. Peißker, “The presence of a stellar kindergarten composed of YSOs is completely unexpected.” Initially, the stars seem to move chaotically, like a swarm of bees. However, further study revealed that, like bees, the stars follow a specific pattern.

The researchers found that both YSOs and S stars are organized in three-dimensional space, creating specific star constellations.

The distribution of these stars forms a disk-like shape, suggesting that the supermassive black hole influences their organized orbits.

In summary, the discovery of these high-speed baby stars around Sgr A* has provided new insights into the dynamics of our galaxy’s center. These findings challenge existing theories and highlight the complex and organized nature of the universe.

Source: University of Cologne.