2011, researchers discovered a gas cloud drifting toward the black hole at the Galactic center. Now it has reached the Schwerkraftmonstrum and is torn apart by its gravity. Astronomers can this spectacle for the first time, follow it live.div a sense, from a front-row seat from astronomers can pursue an unprecedented unique celestial event. Before the black hole at the center of our Milky Way passes by a gas cloud. Now the astronomers to see it as the gravity monster tears the cloud literally. From the data they won the while with a special measuring instrument of the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Paranal in the Chilean, they now hope to not only insights into the behavior of matter in an extremely s trong gravitational fields. The process is likely they also reveal more about the conditions in the central area of ??our home galaxy.
It is an event announcement. In 2011, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching near Munich, had discovered the gas cloud. Their mass is several times that of Earth. As it turned out, it falls to on a nearly radial orbit the black hole. This sits just 26 000 light-years away from Earth at the location of a source of radio emission with the astronomical designation Sagittarius A *. It has 4.3 million times more massive than our Sun, but its event horizon – the boundary is that from which the light can no longer escape into space from the central mass – has only a little more than ten million kilometers in diameter “The ionized gas at the top is now over a distance of more than 150 hours of light, about 160 billion kilometers, distributed. It extends to the so-called pericenter of the orbit around the black hole, “says Stefan Gillessen MPE astrophysicist, who heads the monitoring team. “The c losest approach amounts to only about 25 light hours -., Or slightly more than 25 billion kilometers,” This represents five times the distance of Neptune from the Sun. The pericentre is the point on the path with the smallest distance to the black hole.
This but the passing of this point should not be conceived as a singular event, so Gillessen on. It is rather a process that stretches over a period of at least one year. Apparently pulled the top of the cloud, but seen from the Earth behind the black hole over. Of its gravity while she was forced to an almost circular orbit, so that its tip is now flying back towards Earth. The direct collapse to the gravity case they missed it narrowly.