Black hole-bound gas cloud ‘stretched like spaghetti’
The giant gas cloud heading for the black hole at the centre of our galaxy has begun its death spiral.
The cloud, known as G2 is now being stretched out like a piece of spaghetti by the black hole’s extreme gravity.
This gravitational field has caused the head of the cloud to accelerate around the black hole and to speed back towards us. Astronomers have been closely observing G2, hoping to catch it being ripped apart and eaten by the black hole.
"The most exciting thing we now see in the new observations is the head of the cloud coming back towards us at more than 10 million km/h along the orbit - about 1% of the speed of light," said Reinhard Genzel, from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany.
"This means that the front end of the cloud has already made its closest approach to the black hole." (via BBC News - Black hole-bound gas cloud ‘stretched like spaghetti’)