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 center of the galaxy, as seen in this space wallpaper. Shown here are VLT observations from 2006, 2010 and 2013, colored 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. This image was released July 17, 2013. [Space Cloud Ripped Apart by Milky Way's Giant Black Hole | Full Story]
(Image: © ESO/S. Gillessen)
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