A Black Holes Dinner is Fast Approaching
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A Black Hole's Dinner is Fast Approaching

December 20, 2011
Simulation of gas cloud after close approach to the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way

This view shows a simulation of how a gas cloud that has been observed approaching the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy may break apart over the next few years. 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 remains of the gas cloud are shown in red and yellow, with the cloud's orbit marked in red. The stars orbiting the black hole are also shown along with blue lines marking their orbits. This view simulates the expected positions of the stars and gas cloud in the year 2021.

Credit: ESO/MPE/Marc Schartmann

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