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Magnetic Field May Be Keeping Milky Way’s Black Hole Quiet

11 Jun 2019, 15:50 UTC
Magnetic Field May Be Keeping Milky Way’s Black Hole Quiet Dust and magnetic fields: NASA/SOFIA; Star field image: NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

Supermassive black holes exist at the center of most galaxies, and our Milky Way is no exception. But many other galaxies have highly active black holes, meaning a lot of material is falling into them, emitting high-energy radiation in this “feeding” process. The Milky Way’s central black hole, on the other hand, is relatively quiet. New observations from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, are helping scientists understand the differences between active and quiet black holes.

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