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Milky Way's Central Black Hole Slowly Rips Apart A Gas Cloud

19 Dec 2011, 11:02 UTC
Milky Way's Central Black Hole Slowly Rips Apart A Gas Cloud
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Galaxies are theorized to have massive black holes at their centers but the one in the Milky Way is the only supermassive black hole close enough for astronomers to study in detail. A recent violent encounter is a unique chance to observe how a black hole gulps gas, dust and stars as it grows ever bigger.The normally quiet neighborhood around the massive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy is being invaded by a gas cloud that is destined in just a few years to be ripped, shredded and largely eaten. The Chandra X-ray satellite has already scheduled its largest single chunk of observation time in 2012 near the Milky Way's central black hole.

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