In the center of our Milky Way galaxy is a black hole. And it's not just any black hole. It's a pretty damn big black hole.
A supermassive black hole, to be exact. And that's not just the title of a Muse song. The term supermassive black hole applies to this celestial body because it's more than 4 million times the mass of the Sun.
Known as Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A*), the black hole erupted in May of 2019. Sgr A* became 75 times brighter than it typically is over a period of just two hours. The black hole also emitted some pretty terrifying flares.
But as astronomers watched the eruption unfold, their big question was, why?
Watch Sgr A* erupt below:
Now before you start doomsday prepping, remember that we're a safe distance at 26,000 light years away.
Last year the European Southern Observatory used their incredibly sensitive GRAVITY instrument to observe Sgr A*.
The video depicts clumps of gas swirling around at about 30% of the speed of light on a circular orbit just outside the black hole. Starting with a wide view of the Milky Way Galaxy, the video zooms into a visualization of data from simulations of orbital motions of gas swirling around at about 30% of the speed of light on a circular orbit around the supermassive black hole, Sgr A*.
Watch that video below: