Tag Archive: Gamma rays

Mysterious X-Ray flares at Sag A*,



Mysterious X-ray flares caught by Chandra may be asteroids falling into the Milky Way’s giant black hole. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/F. Baganoff et al.; Illustrations: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/93451/milky-ways-supermassive-black-hole-is-feasting-on-asteroids/#ixzz20k0XRv4K


I would like to remind everyone, that our particular black hole at the center of this Galaxy is frequently referred to as ‘quiet’. i.e. Nothing much happens there and it is therefore quite difficult to get any real information about it.

This has changed recently:

“For the past several years, the Chandra telescope has detected X-ray flares occurring about once a day from the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. These flares last a few hours with brightness ranging from a few times to nearly one hundred times that of the black hole’s regular output. What could be causing these unusual, mysterious flares? ”

A video showing the ‘pulsing’ emissions as photographed by Chandra coming from the black hole.  Wow, actual video.


And this little tidbit about past ‘encounters’.  I have never seen nor heard about this before!

“This scenario would not be limited to asteroids and comets, however. Planets thrown into orbits too close to Sgr A* also could also be disrupted by tidal forces, although planets in the region are less common. And of course, if a planet was consumed, it would create an even larger flare; and this may have occurred about a century ago when Sgr A* brightened by about a factor of a million. Chandra and other X-ray missions have seen evidence of an X-ray “light echo” reflecting off nearby clouds, providing a measure of the brightness and timing of the flare.”

Ok, so again, this has occurred in the past!  What will happen when the newly observed cloud of matter mentioned in other posts gets there?

“Very long observations of Sgr A* will be made with Chandra later in 2012 that will give valuable new information about the frequency and brightness of flares and should help to test the model proposed here to explain them. The team said this work could improve understanding about the formation of asteroids and planets in the harsh environment of Sgr A*.”


Don’t forget about the new satellite NuStar, just sent up to look for X-Ray emissions.  You can bet that at the end of 2012, this is what it will be watching.


So, what is happening? they don’t know.  Of course not:  Here is a link to the scientific paper that explains how/what they think is causing these recently observed flares:


published in November 2011.  Although technical, it offers many, many insights into what is being observed and what may be happening:  Lets review the highlights:

  1. They speculate that these asteroids must be at least 6 miles wide and come within 1 AU of the black hole. (distance of the Earth from the Sun).
  2. That one of these sized asteroids does this once a day, every day, for 14 billion years.  (they assume this is the norm for all time, and not just a recent occurrence).
  3. That when they do, they produce one of the popular explanations of what a flare is. (see below)
  4. Planet or Sun sized interaction occurs every 10^5 years. (100,000 years).
  5. They propose that just such an event occurred @ 300 years ago and that the echo can be seen on Sgr B2.  This is a molecular cloud 390 light years from Sag A.   This indicates that the effects of such an event travel at or near light speed.  Wow.
  6. Sag A is ‘famously dim in all frequencies’.  In other words, very quiet, no light, no emissions, nothing is the norm.
  7. Flares occur daily in the infra-red and then followed by X-Rays.  This does not match the above historical statement.  Things have changed.
  8. There is NO UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED MODEL for these flares. But the one I like is:
    1. “A blob of relativistic plasma, threaded by a magnetic field, is suddenly created in the accretion flow around Sag A and then proceeds to move outwards while simultaneously expanding at a prescribed velocity.  This leads to an evolution of the optical depth of the plasma, which in turn causes different parts of the emission spectrum to appear different at the time of the flare, leading to time lags between emission maximums and characteristic light curves for the various spectral bands.”
  9. Within the inner few AU distance from the black hole, it must contain some gaseous accretion flow at all times.
  10. An asteroid (or planet or star) would move through this gas at near relativistic speed (read light speed).  Moving through this gas will make the temperature of the asteroid about 3900 degrees Kelvin.  It would start to evaporate at about 10 AU.  To be observable, it must pass within 1 AU.
  11. If a planet the size of Jupiter where to wander close to the black hole, Sag A would brighten for tens to hundreds of years!  It would be 10^39 times as bright (1 with 39 zeros).


The Gas Cloud approaching Sag A is at minimum 3 times as massive as EARTH and possibly as large as the SOLAR SYSTEM.  It will pass within the 1 AU limit mentioned above.  It will be visible when it happens.  We will receive the radiation from the event.


Backs up EVERY, SINGLE thing I have said so far about this upcoming event that started this whole WATCH THIS SPACE!


Will post more when there is more, and there will be more….


PS: Found a few more articles…


Most powerful eruption in the UNIVERSE

January 5, 2005


The eruption lasted 100,000,0000 years and each bubble on either side is 600,000 light years across.  6 times the size of our entire galaxy.

“The discovery of this eruption shows X-ray telescopes are necessary to understand some of the most violent events in the universe.”

The size of the flare is proportional to the size of the mass involved.  This is your outer limit case in point.



An Intriguing, Glowing Galaxy

May 14, 2009

A supermassive black hole may be responsible for the glowing appearance of galaxy 3C 305, located about 600 million light years away in the constellation Draco.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news161533193.html#jCp

This entire Galaxy is glowing, and we can see it from 600,000,000 light years away.  We are only 26,000 light years away from our center!



Outflows from Centaurus A

January 28, 2009

Colour composite image of Centaurus A, revealing the lobes and jets emanating from the active galaxy’s central black hole.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news152344528.html#jCp

“Centaurus A hosts a very active and highly luminous central region, caused by the presence of a supermassive black hole, and is the source of strong radio and X-ray emission.

Measurements of this emission, which occurs when fast-moving electrons spiral around the lines of a magnetic field, reveal that the material in the jet is travelling at approximately half the speed of light. In the X-ray emission, we see the jets emerging from the centre of Centaurus A and, to the lower right of the galaxy, the glow where the expanding lobe collides with the surrounding gas, creating a shockwave.”

This is the closest giant Galaxy.  That shockwave you see is ‘outside’ the Galaxy itself.  That is a big shockwave.



Black hole caught in Stellar Homicide

June 12, 2012

“(Phys.org) — This computer-simulated image shows gas from a star that is ripped apart by tidal forces as it falls into a black hole. Some of the gas also is being ejected at high speeds into space.

A flare in ultraviolet and optical light revealed gas falling into the black hole as well as helium-rich gas that was expelled from the system. When the star is torn apart, some of the material falls into the black hole, while the rest is ejected at high speeds. The flare and its properties provide a signature of this scenario and give unprecedented details about the stellar victim.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-07-image-black-hole-caught-stellar.html#jCp

This is Galaxy PS1-10jh  It is 2,700,000,000 light years away and visible with ground telescopes.  Looks just like the computer simulation for what is happening at OUR Galaxy! (this is 10,000,0000 times farther away from us than our black hole).

Some very interesting information has been coming out lately about neutrinos, Gamma rays and the Standard Model of Cosmology in general that I though would be interesting to discuss.  This does, and will, have a direct impact on YOU!

First, don’t get all “this is too technical’ and not read, this should be very interesting even if you don’t like math or big words.


Neutrinos are defined as:

Neutrinos are omnipresent in nature such that in just one second, tens of billions of them "pass through every square centimetre of our bodies without us ever noticing

So that means that they are everywhere, all the time.  They comprise the so called ‘cosmic rays’ commonly referred to in many space articles.  In fact, there is no such thing as a ‘cosmic ray’.  There are X-rays, Gamma Rays, protons, photons and neutrinos.  The first two will hurt you and are rare, and neutrinos are basically omnipresent.  They have mass, travel at the speed of light (or faster), and basically pass right thru matter like it wasn’t even there.  Which it isn’t, but that is another discussion.



Here we see a graphic showing how particles hit the Earth (i.e. you).  Photons (a.k.a. Light) refract. Protons (a.k.a matter) wander based on gravity and based on velocity do just about anything, and Neutrinos don’t even waver, just a straight line from point of origin to where ever it is that they may be going.

Since these little buggers are traveling at light speed and go thru anything, you can imagine that they are hard to detect.  They are! and there are (were) 2 main observatories that have the capability of seeing them:

The Sudbury Neutrino Detector


This GLASS BALL is buried 2000 meters underground in Canada and was constructed in 1999 and turned off in 2006.  I would ask my readers to think long and hard about how they built this thing almost a mile under ground.  Go ahead, I will wait.  Ok, back to the program. It is filled with heavy water (deuterium, used to enrich uranium).   When a neutrino hits an atom within this water, it emits a photon of blue light.  Although this light could be in any direction it typically reflects back in the direction of the neutrino’s origin.   What is interesting is that the neutrino carries on its merry way after having broken the deuterium into a neutron and a proton (breaks the atom apart) and emitting the photon.

Originally, it was though that there were only 3 kinds of neutrinos.  However,  this site has found 2 more and more are expected to be found.

As a side note to an earlier post of mine, this thing was also used in the following:

The SNO detector would have been capable of detecting a supernova within our galaxy if one had occurred while the detector was online. As neutrinos emitted by a supernova are released earlier than the photons, it is possible to alert the astronomical community before the supernova is visible. SNO was a founding member of the Supernova Early Warning System (SNEWS) with Super-Kamiokande and the Large Volume Detector. No such supernovas have yet been detected.

Some really basic questions I would ask If such an early warning system exists:

  1. Why do we need early warning?  What would these ‘nova’ do?  I know, but helping make a point.
  2. How do the neutrinos get here faster than the photons?  Photons travel at the speed of light.  Do you know something we don’t?  Do the neutrinos form days or weeks prior to light being emitted?  Again, just saying cause perhaps you know how neutrinos are formed?

Not that you could do anything about this stuff, but I guess they are worried about ‘something’.

South Pole Neutrino Observatory




This is an array of over 5000 sensors frozen into the ice DIRECTLY under the South Pole (Antarctica for the geographically challenged).

It is a high energy neutrino telescope built into one cubic kilometer of ice.  Each hole (86) are drilled 2.5 kilometers deep. This was finished in January 2011, so this thing still smells new.

It also detects the same blue light emissions but using a different setup.

What has IceCube discovered?

Now for the fun part.  What you should have been asking yourself this whole time is:  Where do they come from?

Funny you should ask.  They don’t know, but here is the classical definition:

may originate from events in the universe such as "colliding black holes, gamma ray bursts from exploding stars, and violent events at the cores of distant galaxies," according to some speculation by scientists

We will take them one at a time:

Colliding black holes:  Well for something that is ‘omnipresent’ there must be a lot of bumping going on.  Since no black hole collisions have ever been seen, we can just rule this one out.

Gamma ray bursts (from where ever really): This is what the Standard model suggested as true.

Violent events at the cores of Galaxies:  Notice how they said ‘other’ and more ‘distant’ Galaxies and not our own.  Funny that.  Anyway, this is the one they did not want to be true.

The Sun:  Not mentioned here, but some neutrinos are probably created by Fusion occurring in our Sun and every other Star.  Just saying.  We can also artificially produce them in particle accelerators like CERN.  Both of these seem to be ‘low’ energy and I really don’t know what that means.

Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) as a source

GRBs are extremely powerful explosions, first observed by satellites using X-rays or gamma rays. GRBs are relatively frequent occurrences, seen about once per day around the visible Universe. Typical GRBs last a few seconds, and during this brief time they can outshine the rest of the Universe combined. Despite this, little is known about them.

Whitehorn and Redl studied 300 GRBs reported by satellites on the GRB Coordinates Network between May 2008 and April 2010, looking for any neutrinos originating from the observed gamma ray burst position and time.

And after much observation:

resulted in no evidence for neutrinos being produced by GRB,

“Calculations embracing the concept that cosmic ray protons are the decay products of neutrons that escaped the magnetic confinement of the GRB fireball are supported by the research community and have been convincingly excluded by the present data,”

And the last little interesting tidbit:  They detected a neutrino source .3 light years away.  That is NOT the sun and is NOT a Gamma Ray burst.  Queue the Twilight Zone music.

Galactic Cores as a source

My favorite all along has always been the Galactic Core!  This is what Space.com has to say about it.


Instead of gamma-ray bursts, researchers note that black holes at the centers or nuclei of active galaxies may be responsible for these ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, sucking in matter and spitting out enormous particle jets as they gorge.

"Active galactic nuclei are big — great big accelerators that may be able to accelerate particles to very high energies," said Klein, a long-time member of the IceCube Collaboration.

IceCube has looked for neutrinos from active galactic nuclei, but as yet the data is inconclusive

If you are at all interested in the Galactic core, or more specifically, OUR Galactic core and how this may have any real-life importance to you at all, please read Watch This Space parts 1-7 on this site.

A little historical background (circa 1987)


Time lapse (from Hubble space Telescope) of what happens when the explosion (nova) interacts with materials surrounding the star.  This is what a Galactic wave would look like.   This is just a star, think Black Hole about a BILLION times larger.


For 13 seconds a tsunami of neutrinos, emanating from a giant star eleven billion times more distant than the sun, flooded earth. This wave of neutrinos paled the steady stream of neutrinos reaching us from the sun by a factor of more than ten thousand.
Yet no one noticed.

neutrino observatories had detected a signal with the same time stamp: 7:36 GMT.

Three hours later astronomers observed thru their optical telescopes a new star flaring up in the Large Magellan Cloud. The star continued to increase in brightness, and despite its mind-blowing 170,000 light years distance from earth, the star quickly became visible to the human eye. A supernova explosion had heralded the birth of a neutron star. And for the very first time, humans had directly observed the ultimate armageddon: a core collapse taking place deep inside an imploding giant star.

To put this into perspective, consider the neutrino counts that characterize the supernova event twenty five years ago. Every square foot of earth got penetrated by a blast of 100,000,000,000,000 neutrinos. Despite this tsunami of neutrinos flooding earth, the combined volumes of Kamiokande II, IMB and Baksan observed no more than 25 neutrinos.

So that all fits with both this post and my previous post, but what is weird here (I don’t write about it unless it is weird).

OK, ok… let me introduce you to a well kept secret: rumor has it that superluminal neutrinos were observed already 25 years ago. Yes, that’s right: we are talking here about superluminal supernova neutrinos.

Google for ‘SN1987A’, and you will find lots of articles on the supernova neutrinos detected 25 years ago. Most of these articles will mention the three experiments discussed above: Kamiokande II, IMB, and Baksan. However, a fourth neutrino detector also measured a signal from the direction of the Large Magellan Cloud: the LSD detector operated by a French-Italian team. LSD saw five neutrino events. Strangely enough, this happened five hours before the other three detectors signaled supernova neutrinos. Already in 1998 (way before the 2011 hype!) this observation got attributed to neutrinos reaching superluminal speeds.

Well maybe, just maybe, we have not yet settled the faster than light question!

The ‘Official Version’ as it pertains to Neutrino emissions

Approximately three hours before the visible light from SN 1987A reached the Earth, a burst of neutrinos was observed at three separate neutrino observatories. This is likely due to neutrino emission (which occurs simultaneously with core collapse) preceding the emission of visible light (which occurs only after the shock wave reaches the stellar surface).[8] At 7:35 a.m. Universal time, Kamiokande II detected 11 antineutrinos; IMB, 8 antineutrinos; and Baksan, 5 antineutrinos; in a burst lasting less than 13 seconds. Approximately three hours earlier, the Mont Blanc liquid scintillator detected a five-neutrino burst, but this is generally not believed to be associated with SN 1987A.[6]

Although the actual neutrino count was only 24, it was a significant rise from the previously observed background level. This was the first time neutrinos emitted from a supernova had been observed directly, which marked the beginning of neutrino astronomy. The observations were consistent with theoretical supernova models in which 99% of the energy of the collapse is radiated away in neutrinos. The observations are also consistent with the models’ estimates of a total neutrino count of 1058 with a total energy of 1046 joules.[9]

The neutrino measurements allowed upper bounds on neutrino mass and charge, as well as the number of flavors of neutrinos and other properties.[6] For example, the data show that within 5% confidence, the rest mass of the electron neutrino is at most 16 eV. The data suggests that the total number of neutrino flavors is at most 8 but other observations and experiments give tighter estimates. Many of these results have since been confirmed or tightened by other neutrino experiments such as more careful analysis of solar neutrinos and atmospheric neutrinos as well as experiments with artificial neutrino sources.

Why this is hard to take at face value:

Lets just take the pertinent parts as they apply to this discussion of neutrinos.

  1. Neutrino flavors is at most 8.  Well read anywhere about neutrinos and you only hear about 3.  The 8 were actually predicted! prior to actual discovery.  Check it out.
  2. Actual neutrino count was only 24.   From this one event, we only get 24 collisions.  Speaks to the rarity of an actual collision actually happening!  Keep this in mind.
  3. Approximately three hours earlier, the Mont Blanc liquid scintillator detected a five-neutrino burst, but this is generally not believed to be associated with SN 1987A.  They are saying, that these 5 (one fifth of all observed collisions from this event) were not related.  Really?  Then what/where caused them?   What allows them to discard observed information?
  4. preceding the emission of visible light .  This bit is important.  They are saying that the core collapses (internal to the star).  The result is that 99% of the energy of the star is converted into neutrinos and ejected.  i.e. Gone, left the building.  Then for some reason at either 3 hours or 6 hours (depending on who you believe), the star bursts in a VISIBLE way.  We detect the neutrinos early because of this phenomenon.   Personally, I don’t think they have made a case.  Theories must match observation and this is a stretch in my opinion.

If you want to watch a video discussing this event
(albeit in a different context)

About an hour long, but has some interesting information for those not put off by the rabbit hole! I personally do not vibe with the biblical stuff contained, so do not imply that this man’s opinions are my own.

Or a this version of events (very detailed!) from the Electric Universe

Supernova 1987A Decoded

24 August 2005


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