Monday, December 19, 2011

Gas Cloud Approaching the Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way

This simulated view shows a gas cloud (just above center, with its orbit shown in red) that has been observed approaching the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. This is the first time ever that the approach of such a doomed cloud to a supermassive black hole has been observed and it is expected to break up completely during 2013. The stars orbiting the black hole are also shown along with blue lines marking their orbits. The stars and the cloud are shown in their actual positions in 2011.

Video credit: ESO

Note: For more information, see A Black Hole's Dinner is Fast Approaching.

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