Mysterious objects near massive black hole discovered by astronomers
Additional identifications suggest G-objects may be increasingly common than scientists perceived.

Leah Williams | 4 hours ago

Scientists believe a massive black hole within the center of the Milky Way has triggered the production of unknown structures with an appearance of dust clouds and activity traits similar to celestial stars.

According to an unpublished research report presented at the annual conference of the American Astronomical Society this week, scientists have found three additions to a class of unknown space anomalies known as G-objects.

"They're weird because they are not gas nebulae, they're not stars, so we think they're something in the middle, a stellar object surrounded by gas and dust," Anna Ciurlo, an astronomer at the University of California Los Angeles, told Newsweek, "like a star that's been puffed up." The first two such objects caught astronomers' eyes in 2004 and 2012.

Scientists proclaim the similarities to dust as the objects produce an intense, red light. Based on scientific data, there is no remnant of a star. However, the two objects have traveled close to the supermassive black hole at the galaxy's core without being destroyed, which means the objects are denser than a cloud of dust. Therefore, the idea of a star surrounded by gas is introduced.

The additional identifications suggest G-objects might be a little more common than scientists perceived, which could solve a second mystery about the galactic center, the large number of young stars found there. The two colliding stars, while aged, would create a new star, quite large, that would look astronomically like a young star.

The research team was inspired by a collection of 12 years' worth of observations of the center of the Milky Way galaxy, an incredibly crowded neighborhood. Scientists have done a fair amount of research on the stars in that data set, but the team behind the new research wanted to use the same data to manage different questions.

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