If you're fascinated by all things space and physics related, this page is for you.

The Universe on Facebook

Gas cloud 1, Sagittarius A 0.This graphic from the European Space Agency shows what people thought was about to happen at the center of the galaxy, but didn’t.Sagittarius A is the heart of our galaxy, a supermassive black hole around which the entire Milky Way orbits. In 2011, a gas cloud known as “G2” was discovered close to Sagittarius A and was found to be on a trajectory that would bring it within 100 AU of the black hole; so close that the massive gravity should tear it apart.In late March, astronomers using the Keck Telescopes in Hawaii imaged the area and found, surprisingly the gas cloud had passed Sagittarius A intact.At the very least, it was thought that the gravity would string out the gas cloud, a process apparently actually known as “spaghettification”. Instead, the gas cloud survived its first pass.The fact that G2 survived probably means it has something inside it with its own gravity; most likely a star holds it together. There are a variety of processes that could produce this type of relationship, many involving binary star systems, but processes in the center of the galaxy aren’t understood well enough to know quite what is happening yet.In other words, as this gas cloud spirals towards Sagittarius A, we get to spend maybe the next several years watching this cosmic ballet dance as G2 winds its twisted course around the monster at the heart of the galaxy. (Of course, Sagittarius A is about 26,000 light years away, so these events actually took place that long ago, but we’re just watching them now).-JBBImage credit: ESO/MPE/Marc SchartmannRead more: 1, 2 View high resolution

Gas cloud 1, Sagittarius A 0.

This graphic from the European Space Agency shows what people thought was about to happen at the center of the galaxy, but didn’t.
Sagittarius A is the heart of our galaxy, a supermassive black hole around which the entire Milky Way orbits. In 2011, a gas cloud known as “G2” was discovered close to Sagittarius A and was found to be on a trajectory that would bring it within 100 AU of the black hole; so close that the massive gravity should tear it apart.

In late March, astronomers using the Keck Telescopes in Hawaii imaged the area and found, surprisingly the gas cloud had passed Sagittarius A intact.

At the very least, it was thought that the gravity would string out the gas cloud, a process apparently actually known as “spaghettification”. Instead, the gas cloud survived its first pass.

The fact that G2 survived probably means it has something inside it with its own gravity; most likely a star holds it together. There are a variety of processes that could produce this type of relationship, many involving binary star systems, but processes in the center of the galaxy aren’t understood well enough to know quite what is happening yet.

In other words, as this gas cloud spirals towards Sagittarius A, we get to spend maybe the next several years watching this cosmic ballet dance as G2 winds its twisted course around the monster at the heart of the galaxy. (Of course, Sagittarius A is about 26,000 light years away, so these events actually took place that long ago, but we’re just watching them now).

-JBB

Image credit: ESO/MPE/Marc Schartmann

Read more: 1, 2

  1. spacegurls reblogged this from brightestofcentaurus
  2. putmyfaithinthestars reblogged this from brightestofcentaurus
  3. stained-coffeecups reblogged this from brightestofcentaurus
  4. cosmic-microwave-background reblogged this from brightestofcentaurus
  5. brightestofcentaurus reblogged this from naive-bayesian
  6. killerdragon001 reblogged this from thomlocke73
  7. thomlocke73 reblogged this from the-actual-universe and added:
    great information!!!! new site is great!
  8. raptinawe reblogged this from the-actual-universe
  9. seafarers-footsteps reblogged this from startalkradio
  10. thaaysmith reblogged this from the-actual-universe
  11. stelou94 reblogged this from the-actual-universe
  12. ghostly2lighten reblogged this from startalkradio
  13. thedamageddiligent reblogged this from manifeswan
  14. manifeswan reblogged this from megacosms
  15. she-burns-brightly reblogged this from raven-steals-the-light
  16. raven-steals-the-light reblogged this from megacosms
  17. chapszz reblogged this from naive-bayesian
  18. atom-at-the-ministry-of-science reblogged this from the-actual-universe
  19. myawesomenessiskillingyou reblogged this from tacomodomo