A somewhat exaggerated artistic idea of ​​the real shape of our warped and twisted galaxy galaxy. The black hole in the center of our galaxy has ignited unexpectedly, and astronomers are not sure why. (Photo: Chao Liu, National Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Astronomers said they had observed the supermassive black hole closest to Earth with "unprecedented brightness" – and they are not quite sure why ,

The Black Hole, known as Sagittarius A * or Sgr A *, is four million times as massive as the Sun and about 26,000 light-years from Earth. Although no visible light can escape the attraction of a black hole, astronomers can observe the hot gas that falls into it in the near infrared, the portion of the infrared spectrum closest to the light perceivable by the human eye.

"So basically, we've seen four nights of observation this year, and in one of the nights, the brightness was about twice as high as the brightest in the last 20 years," said Tuan Do, an associate researcher and deputy director of the Galactic Center group at UCLA, which led the study. "This suggests that in the region of the black hole something physically interesting might happen."

& # 39; We saw what we thought was invisible to us & # 39 ;: First photo of a black hole revealed [19659008] Here is a time lapse of images over 2.5 hours from May of @keckobservatory of the supermassive black hole Sgr A *. The black hole is always variable, but this was the brightest we've ever seen in the infrared. It was probably even brighter when we started watching this night!

– Tuan Do (@quantumpenguin) Aug 11, 2019