September 7, 2001 Cambridge, Massachusetts - MIT scientists have detected for the first time a rapid X-ray flare at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy near what is thought to be a supermassive black hole. The observation was on October 26-27, 2000, but not reported until the September 6, 2001 issue of Nature. The lead author, MIT's Frederick Baganoff, said, "This is extremely exciting because it's the first time we have seen in our own neighborhood a supermassive black hole devour a chunk of material. This signal comes from closer to the event horizon of our Galaxy's supermassive black hole than any that we have ever received before. It's as if the material sent us a postcard before it fell in."
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