Scientists Unravel Secrets of Monster Black Hole at Center of Milky Way
Supermassive black hole last erupted two million years ago, and will again.
It seems the answer may simply be that we didn't catch the cosmic monster—weighing at least four million times the mass of our sun—feeding at the right time, according to a new study.
"If we had been around to see it two million years ago, the situation would have been very different," said study co-author Philip Maloney of the University of Colorado in Boulder.
"The Milky Way's black hole was maybe ten million times brighter [then]," he said. "I don't think anyone really had any expectation that SMBH might vary in luminosity by such a huge factor on such a short—relatively speaking—time scale."
(See "Monster Black Holes Gobble Binary Stars to Grow?")
Astronomers have long suspected there was an ancient outburst from