The Milky Way’s quiet, introverted monster won’t spin

There’s a beast hiding at the center of the Milky Way, and it’s barely moving.

This supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A* (SgrA*), has a mass 4.15 million times that of our sun. It first revealed itself to scientists as a mysterious source of radio waves from the galaxy’s center back in 1931; but it wasn’t until 2002 that researchers confirmed the radio waves were coming from something massive and compact like a black hole —— a feat that earned them the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics. Just days before the team learned about their Nobel on Oct. 6, another group learned something new about the black hole: It’s spinning more slowly than a supermassive black hole should, moving less than (possibly far less than) 10% of the speed of light.

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