Dec 15, 2011
Astronomers of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, have discovered a gas cloud which will soon be swallowed up by the object Saggitarius A* – a black hole, as the scientists suspect.
Sagittarius A*. This image was taken with NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Ellipses indicate light echoes.
At the moment, the black hole at the heart of the Milky Way is going hungry. But its diet may soon be over: a gas cloud has ventured too close to the super massive black hole and will be devoured by it over the next few years. The feeding of the black hole will be observed by astronomers at first-hand, who should also be able to note a largely increased X-ray emission at the time. Even now they can see how the huge gravitational pull of the black hole is causing some distortion to the gas cloud.
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