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posted by Dopefish on Wednesday February 19 2014, @04:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the reconnoiter-the-dark-matter dept.

weeds writes:

"This has been going on for some time and the date of closest approach keeps getting pushed back. Here is the latest report from the New York Times on the approach of a gas cloud called G2 towards the Galactic Center.

Black holes, which are the ultra-dense, collapsed objects predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity, are often depicted as voracious feeders whose extraordinary gravity acts like a one-way membrane: Everything is sucked in, even light, and virtually nothing leaks out.

Now, for the first time, astronomers may have a chance to watch as a giant black hole consumes a cosmic snack.

In March or April, the gas cloud G2, which has been hurtling toward the center of the Milky Way, is expected to collide with Sagittarius A*, a black hole that lies just 26,000 light-years away from Earth."

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by martyb on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:37PM

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:37PM (#2645) Journal

    Weeds(611) [] wrote:

    Wikipedia has a pretty decent explanation:*#Discov ery_of_G2_gas_cloud_on_an_accretion_course/

    Thanks for the Wikipedia link! Among the links I found there, I found this one especially interesting: "Sgr A* -- Swift Monitoring Program 2013/2014 [] which states, in part:

    This is the home page for the Swift monitoring campaign of the Galactic center. Using almost daily observations since 2006, this program has provided a unique baseline to study the long-term X-ray behavior of the central super-massive black hole Sgr A*. We post daily updates of the Swift data to allow for a quick response if the activity of Sgr A* changes due to its interaction with the approaching gas cloud "G2".

    Lots of historical data, pretty pictures(!), and even *more* links to sources and write-ups.

    For those who want to keep up with the happenings there, it also mentions:

    If you would like to receive an automatic update via email when flaring behavior is detected, please email: swift.sgra 'at'

    I, for one, am anxiously awaiting what may happen, and what we'll learn!

    Wit is intellect, dancing.
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  • (Score: 1) by tftp on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:24AM

    by tftp (806) on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:24AM (#3002) Homepage

    I, for one, am anxiously awaiting what may happen, and what we'll learn!

    Why am I reminded of that scene in the movie Independence Day when a bunch of UFO crazies gather on some roof and cheerfully look into the barrel of a Zettawatt gamma laser? :-)