Thursday, December 15, 2011

Scientists hope to catch glimpse of 'sleeping' black hole at heart of our galaxy - as it devours nearby gas cloud - 15th Dec 2011

The supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way - our galaxy - is normally a 'sleeping giant'.

But it's set to get a rude awakening. A gas cloud several times the size of Earth is hurtling into it at five million miles an hour.

Astronomers hope that the huge radiation burst released when the two collide will provide a rare glimpse of the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy - and help us understand why it's normally so quiet.

Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have discovered the doomed cloud to. It will be the first time such an impact with a supermassive black hole has been observed.

The results will be published in the journal Nature.

During a 20-year program using ESO telescopes to monitor the movement of stars around the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, a team of astronomers led by Reinhard Genzel at the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physicsy, has discovered a unique new object fast approaching the black hole. Read More