Astronomers discovered an elongated object named “X7” that had been identified near the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
This object was first detected in 2018 using data from the GRAVITY instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile.
X7 appeared to be a compact, dusty object with a size of about 1/100th of a parsec (roughly 10 times the distance between the Sun and the nearest star), and it was located about 2.6 parsecs away from the supermassive black hole. It was moving in a highly elliptical orbit around the black hole with a period of about 11.5 years.
|X7 location relative to the supermassive black hole|
The origin and nature of X7 are not yet fully understood, but it has been suggested that it could be a clump of gas and dust that is being tidally disrupted by the black hole’s gravity, or it could be a protoplanet or a small star that was ejected from its original orbit and captured by the black hole’s gravity.
Further observations and studies will be needed to determine the true nature of X7 and its relationship to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.
The new study, published in The Astrophysical Journal, suggests that could be a dusty cloud. Study finds same characteristics as other dust clouds in Space but they are certain that they more observations to prove this.
X7 has a mass of about 50 Earths and is on an orbital path around Sgr A* that would take 170 years to complete.