Images of gas cloud being ripped apart by the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way

New observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope show for the first time a gas cloud being ripped apart by the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy. Shown here are VLT observations from 2006, 2010 and 2013, coloured blue, green and red respectively.

Due to its distance, and the fact that we see the orbit at a steep angle as the cloud falls towards the black hole, only the position, not the shape, of the cloud can be discerned in this image. The stretching of the cloud is seen in observations of its velocity, which allow astronomers to work out where on its orbit the different parts of the cloud are now located.

Credit:

ESO/S. Gillessen

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About the Image

Id:eso1332a
Type:Observation
Release date:17 July 2013, 12:00
Related releases:eso1332
Size:1028 x 1029 px

About the Object

Name:Milky Way, Milky Way Galactic Centre, Sgr A*
Type:• Milky Way : Galaxy : Component : Central Black Hole
• X - Quasars & Black Holes
Distance:25000 light years

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Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Infrared
Bracket Gamma
2.165 μm Very Large Telescope
SINFONI
Infrared
Bracket Gamma
2.165 μm Very Large Telescope
SINFONI
Infrared
Bracket Gamma
2.165 μm Very Large Telescope
SINFONI
Infrared Very Large Telescope
SINFONI

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