Astronomers at the University of California, Los Angeles, working on the Galactic Center Orbits Initiative, have discovered a completely new class of space objects that revolve around a supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy. Recall that this black hole is called Sagittarius A (Sgr A *), and bizarre objects rotating around it behave very unusual, either turning into clouds of cosmic gas, or into huge stars.
These objects most of the time have a compact “star” shape, but when their orbit begins to approach a black hole, the matter of the objects stretches a fairly large distance. The orbits of all known such objects pass at a distance of 100 to 1000 light years from the black hole. The first of these objects, called G1, was discovered back in 2005, and in 2012, astronomers discovered in the center of the Milky Way a second similar object, G2, which made the maximum approximation to a black hole in 2014.
According to the available data, object G2 is most likely two stars that together rotated around a black hole and then merged into one huge star hiding in a thick cloud of gas and dust. At the moment of the closest approach to the black hole, the G2 object lost its outer shells, the matter of which went towards the black hole, and the large star turned into a stretched cloud having an irregular shape.
Analyzing the data collected during the “emissions” from objects G2 and G1, scientists discovered four more such objects, which were named from G3 to G6. The orbits of the movement of new objects are very different from the orbits of the first two, but all these six objects were once binary (double) stars that merged into one, thanks to the gravitational forces of the black hole, which played the role of a catalyst for this process.
Under normal conditions, the merging of two stars can last millions of years. However, in the region of the black hole, these processes are accelerated many times and, due to the “driving forces” of black holes, cases of merging stars can be more common than was previously thought.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the astronomers of the Galactic Center Orbits Initiative project have already identified several new space objects, candidates for belonging to the new G-class. And in the near future, new observations will be made, the purpose of which will be a thorough study of these new objects.