3 years ago

Our Supermassive Black Hole Rivaled the Sun in the Ancient X-ray Sky.

Xian Chen, Pau Amaro-Seoane

Sagittarius A* (SgrA*) lying in the Galactic Centre $8$ kpc from Earth, hosts the closest supermassive black hole known to us. It is now inactive, but there is evidence indicating that about six million years ago it underwent a powerful outburst where the luminosity could have approached the Eddington limit. Motivated by the fact that in extragalaxies the supermassive black holes with similar masses and near-Eddington luminosities are usually strong X-ray emitters, we calculate here the X-ray luminosity of SgrA*. For that, we assume that the outburst was due to accretion of gas or the tidal disruption of a star. We show that these cases could precipitate on Earth a hard X-ray (i.e. $h\nu>2~{\rm keV}$) flux comparable to that from the current quiescent sun. The flux in harder energy band $20~{\rm keV}<h\nu<100~{\rm keV}$, however, surpasses that from an X-class solar flare, and the irradiation timescale is also much longer, ranging from weeks to $10^5$ years depending on the outburst scenario. In the solar system gas giants will suffer the biggest impact in their atmospheres. Lower-mass planets such as Earth receive a level of radiation that might have played a role in the evolution of their primitive atmospheres, so that a detailed study of the consequences deserves further investigation. Planetary systems closer to SgrA* receive higher irradiance levels, making them more likely inhabitable.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.5592

DOI: arXiv:1412.5592v2

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.