Near-Infrared Flare from Galactic Centre (Lightcurve)

This image displays the "light curve" of a light flare from the galactic centre, as observed in the K-band (wavelength 2.2 µm) on June 16, 2003. This and a second flare discovered about 24 hours earlier show variability on a time scale of a few minutes and appear to show larger variations (arrows) with a 17-minute periodicity. The rapid variability implies that the infrared emission comes from just outside (the event horizon of) the black hole. If the periodicity is a fundamental property of the motion of gas orbiting the black hole, the Galactic Centre black hole must rotate with about half the maximum spin rate allowed by General Relativity. The present observations thus probe the space-time structure in the immediate vicinity of that event horizon.

Credit:

ESO

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About the Image

Id:eso0330b
Type:Observation
Release date:29 October 2003
Related releases:eso0330
Size:800 x 906 px

About the Object

Name:Milky Way Galactic Centre
Type:• Milky Way : Galaxy : Component : Center/Core
• X - Galaxies
Distance:25000 light years

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Large JPEG
98.2 KB
Screensize JPEG
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1600x1200
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Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Infrared
K
2.2 μm Very Large Telescope

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