A gas cloud in the Milky Way is just crumpled neatly from a black hole: It winds now in spaghetti form the “epicenter” of past – and at least one year div
astronomers have for the first time watched as the gigantic black hole ripping a gas cloud in the center of the Milky Way. “You can see exactly how the cloud to a spaghetti noodle is downright” quoted the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the head of the monitoring team, Stefan Gillessen. “So it would have to endure an unfortunate astronaut in a science fiction movie that comes close to the black hole.” The unique cosmic encounter is followed according to ESO from researchers around the world with great attention.
Black holes are voracious monster gravity – not even light can escape their attraction. The long-known black hole in the center of our home galaxy has an estimated four million solar masses. Therefore, researchers speak of a supermassive black hole – in contrast to the much smaller black holes which are formed in supernova explosions of massive stars. Supermassive black holes found in the centers of other galaxies.
astronomers had discovered in 2011 with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, a gas cloud that accelerates towards black holes in the Milky Way moving toward the center at that time. The new VLT observations show now how this cloud is being pulled clear in the strong gravitational field of the black hole in the length.
At a minimum distance of only 25 billion kilometers to the gravitational monsters it creates the cloud “just now so, not directly into the black hole falling into it,” said Gillessen of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching research. “The cloud has become so elongated that their passage to the black hole is not simply just a short event but a long process that will continue for at least a year.”
By stretching the cloud is weaker and is more difficult to observe. Nevertheless, the astronomers were able to measure the velocities of the different cloud components in the immediate vicinity of the black hole.
“The exciting thing about the new measurements is that we currently see the front part of the cloud has come back to us – and this at a web speed of more than ten million kilometers per hour , or about one percent of the speed of light, “underlined the economist Reinhard Genzel. He leads the research group that studies the environment of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way for 20 years now. The rear part of the gas cloud, however, falls still further to the black hole.
From further observations of the gas cloud, scientists now hope for clues about their origins among others. Also will be examined, the immediate vicinity of the black hole and the effects of extremely strong gravitational fields. The results will appear in the magazine “The Astrophysical Journal”.