Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cooking With Gas

The usually quiescent black hole at the center of our galaxy appears about ready to produce some dramatic fireworks. A modest sized cloud of interstellar gas - about three Earth masses worth - seems destined to approach the black hole, be ripped apart, and largely swallowed by our BH. The event should heat it to millions of degrees and make it a very powerful x-ray emitter. The results should start appearing in our instruments in a couple of years.

From another point of view, all this happened 27,000 years ago, but we should get the news soon.

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