Does the Milky Way have an active galactic nucleus? Is it or is it a type 1 or type 2 Seyfert galaxy?

1 Answer
Jul 19, 2016

The Milky Way currently doesn't have an active galactic nucleus.


Seyfert galaxies and quasars are galaxies with an active galactic nucleus.

Most large galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their centres. If their is material falling into the black hole this is called an accretion disc. Material falling into the accretion disc gets heated by friction and gravitational effects. This heated material then emits vast amounts of energy. This is what is happening in an active galactic nucleus.

In order for a galaxy to have an active nucleus there needs to be a plentiful supply of material falling into the black hole. This typically only occurs in very young galaxies or the result of galaxies colliding.

The Milky Way currently doesn't have an active nucleus. It may have been active in the past when the galaxy was younger. It could well have an active nucleus in about 4 billion years time when the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies collide. It is also possible for the nucleus to become active for a short time if a dust cloud gets close enough to the supermassive black hole to form an accretion disc.