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Indian scientist's research finds that the last meal supermassive black hole of the Milky Way had was six million years ago
A research by an Indian scientist has claimed that the last meal supermassive black hole of the Milky Way had was six million years ago.

That was when the Milky Way consumed a large clump of infalling gas before burping out a colossal bubble of gas. That bubble of gas weighed equivalent to millions of Suns. Yes, Milky Way is that gigantic.

Rongmon Bordoloi and his team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge along with the help of the NASA's Hubble Space telescope discovered that several distant quasars can be seen through the northern half of the Fermi Bubbles.

Based on the experiment, the research team has estimated that the bubbles formed from an energetic event between 6 million and 9 million years ago.

"Six-nine million years might sound like a long time in human years. But in terms of cosmic timescale, it is like the blink of an eye. Just to give you the scale, the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old, and the dinosaurs became extinct around 66 million years ago. So the last meal that the supermassive black hole of the Milky Way had was after the dinosaurs became extinct," says Bordoloi.

"For the first time, we have traced the motion of cool gas throughout one of the bubbles, which allowed us to map the velocity of the gas and calculate when the bubbles formed," he says.

"It was a very strong and energetic event. It may have been a cloud of gas flowing into the black hole, which fired off jets of matter, forming the twin lobes of hot gas seen in X-ray and gamma-ray observations. Ever since then, the black hole has just been eating snacks," he says.

On a question of when the next meal of the black hole would be due, Bordoloi told PTI, "Recently a binary star called G2 (with a mass of several earth masses) came very close to falling into the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. Somehow it didn't fall through and survived."

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