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A past capture event at Sagittarius A* inferred from the fluorescent X-ray emission of Sagittarius B clouds




The fluorescent X-ray emission from neutral iron in the molecular clouds [Sagittarius (Sgr) B] indicates that the clouds are being irradiated by an external X-ray source. The source is probably associated with the Galactic central black hole (Sgr A*), which triggered a bright outburst 100 yr ago. We suggest that such an outburst could be due to a partial capture of a star by Sgr A*, during which a jet was generated. Using constraints from the observed flux and the time variability (10 yr) of the Sgr B fluorescent emission, we find that the shock produced by the interaction of the jet with the dense interstellar medium represents a plausible candidate for the X-ray source emission.