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A Nonthermal Bomb Explains the Near-infrared Superflare of Sgr A*
By Eduardo M. Gutiérrez, Rodrigo Nemmen, Fabio Cafardo
Published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters 891, L36 (Thursday, March 12, 2020)


The Galactic center supermassive black hole, Sgr A*, has experienced a strong, unprecedented flare in 2019 May when its near-infrared luminosity reached much brighter levels than ever measured. We argue that an explosive event of particle acceleration to nonthermal energies in the innermost parts of the accretion flow—a nonthermal bomb—explains the near-infrared light curve. We discuss potential mechanisms that could explain this event such as magnetic reconnection and relativistic turbulence acceleration. Multiwavelength monitoring of such superflares in radio, infrared, and X-rays should allow a concrete test of the nonthermal bomb model and put better constraints on the mechanism that triggered the bomb.