Washington: A team of researchers believe that they have solved the mystery of the bizarre object at the center of the galaxy.
Research at University of California found that the bizarre object, widely known as G2, that was believed to be a hydrogen gas cloud headed toward the galaxy's enormous black hole, is a pair of binary stars that merged together.
Astronomers had figured that if G2 had been a hydrogen cloud, it could have been torn apart by the black hole, and that the resulting celestial fireworks would have dramatically changed the state of the black hole.
Andrea Ghez, who led the research, G2 survived and continued happily on its orbit, which a simple gas cloud would not have done that, and was basically unaffected by the black hole as there were no fireworks.
Ghez added that when two stars near the black hole merge into one, the star expands for more than 1 million years before it settles back down, which may be happening more than they thought.
Ghez continued that the stars at the center of the galaxy are massive and mostly binaries and it's possible that many of the stars they have been watching and not understanding may be the end product of mergers that are calm now.
Ghez said G2 now is undergoing what she calls a "spaghetti-fication" that is a common phenomenon near black holes in which large objects become elongated and at the same time, the gas at G2's surface is being heated by stars around it, creating an enormous cloud of gas and dust that has shrouded most of the massive star.
The research is published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.