An international team of researchers under the leadership of Dr. Florian Peißker at the University of Cologne’s Institute of Astrophysics has discovered a very young star in its formation phase near the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at the center of our Milky Way.
The star is only several tens of thousands of years old, making it younger than humanity. The special thing about baby star X3a is that theoretically it should not be able to exist so close to the supermassive black hole in the first place.
However, the team believes that it formed in a dust cloud orbiting the giant black hole and sank to its current orbit only after it had formed. The study “X3: a high-mass Young Stellar Object close to the supermassive black hole Sgr A*” has been published in The Astrophysical Journal.
The vicinity of the black hole at the center of our galaxy is generally considered to be a region characterized by highly dynamic processes and hard X-ray and UV radiation. Precisely these conditions act against the formation of stars like our sun. Therefore, for a long time scientists had assumed that over periods of billions of years, only old, evolved stars can settle by dynamical friction in the vicinity of the supermassive black hole.