Our Galaxy’s Supermassive Black Hole Has Pooped Out a Big Bright Flare

❝ The supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*, is relatively quiet. It’s not an active nucleus, spewing light and heat into the space around it; most of the time, the black hole’s activity is low key, with minimal fluctuations in its brightness.

Most of the time. Recently, astronomers caught it going absolutely bananas, suddenly growing 75 times brighter before subsiding back to normal levels. That’s the brightest we’ve ever seen Sgr A* in near-infrared wavelengths…

❝ “I was pretty surprised at first and then very excited,” astronomer Tuan Do of the University of California Los Angeles told ScienceAlert.

“The black hole was so bright I at first mistook it for the star S0-2, because I had never seen Sgr A* that bright. Over the next few frames, though, it was clear the source was variable and had to be the black hole. I knew almost right away there was probably something interesting going on with the black hole.”

The explosions in the video up top from DOCTOR STRANGELOVE are little pinpricks compared to the energy from interaction with a black hole. Luckily, not a neighborhood happenstance.

Gas flaring in North Dakota


Click to enlarge

Gas flaring from an oil well in South Heart, North Dakota.

The oil and gas industry keep telling us they’re dedicated to implementing safe environmental procedures. But, they still burn off natural gas from their oil wells – it keeps profit margins up better than piping it off and transporting it to refineries.

Sun ejects biggest solar flare in 4 years – Duck and cover!

The sun unleashed its strongest solar flare in four years Monday night, hurling a massive wave of charged particles from electrified gas into space and toward Earth.

The solar storm sent a flash of radiation that hit Earth in a matter of minutes. Now a huge cloud of charged particles is headed our way. These coronal mass ejections, as they are called, typically take about 24 hours or more to arrive. They can spark spectacular displays of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, at high latitudes and sometimes even into the northern United States…

Class X flares are the strongest types of solar flares that can erupt from the sun…

Last night’s X2.2 flare is the most powerful solar eruption of the sun’s current weather cycle, called Solar Cycle 24…

The Monday flare came on the heels of another, only slightly less powerful, class M6.6 flare on Sunday, Feb. 13. Both events erupted from the same area on the sun, called active region 1158…

Such a flare can bathe the Earth in high doses of ultraviolet radiation and X-rays hurl a huge burst of solar wind in our direction. When this burst arrives at Earth, the electrons and protons from the solar wind come into contact with our planet’s magnetic field, and stream toward the magnetic poles.

The disturbance can create a geomagnetic storm in Earth’s magnetic field.

Get out your tinfoil hats!