The black hole, called Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A*), is located in the center of the Milky Way and is effectively the glue that holds the galaxy together.
Back in September, scientists started to notice that Sgr A* was behaving in an unusual way. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, astrophysicists noted that the black hole was “hungrier” than usual, absorbing more and more material with no reason behind the increased intake.
“We have never seen anything like this in the 24 years we have studied the supermassive black hole,” said Andrea Ghez, a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy and a co-senior author of the research said at the time.
Now, a new study has only added to the mystery of Sgr A*. According to the authors, six mysterious new objects have been swirling around the galaxy’s central black hole. Dubbed objects G1 through G6, the materials look like massive blobs of gas — several times larger than Earth. However, despite their appearance, the objects act like small stars that are able to pass dangerously close to the black hole’s radius without being destroyed by its force of gravity.
The result, scientists believe, is that the objects are some new form of a hybrid gas-star object. The leading theory is that each G object was originally a pair of binary stars that were forcefully combined by the pull of the black hole millions of years ago. The gas and dust that scientists have picked up on are thus the remnants of the collision.
“Black holes may be driving binary stars to merge,” study co-author Andrea Ghez, continuing her focus on Sgr A*, explained.
“It’s possible that many of the stars we’ve been watching and not understanding may be the end product of [these] mergers,” she added.
Ghez elaborated on the specific case of G2. The mass was the first clue for researchers after the object — which appeared to be a blob of gas — was simply stretched and elongated after getting close to the black hole instead of disintegrating like a normal cloud of gas would.
“At the time of closest approach, G2 had a really strange signature,” Ghez added.
“It went from being a pretty innocuous object when it was far from the black hole to one that was really stretched out and distorted at its closest approach.”
The new mystery is not the only one to grip the scientific community in recent days. A supermassive black hole in the center of the Messier 87 galaxy is firing out jets of material at 99 percent the speed of light, as previously reported by The Inquisitr.