Comments Subscribe to Personal Liberty News Feed Subscribe to Personal Liberty

Astronomers Turn Eyes To Black Hole

BERKELY, Calif., Dec. 15 (UPI) — U.S. astronomers say they’ll be watching as a gas cloud approaching the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way breaks apart in the coming years.

This is the first time the approach of such a cloud to a supermassive black hole has been observed, and astronomers expect it to break up completely during 2013, a release from the University of California, Berkeley, said Wednesday.

The Milky Way’s black hole is the only one close enough to Earth for astronomers to study in detail, so the expected violent encounter is a unique opportunity to observe what until now has only been theorized, they said — how a black hole gulps gas, dust and stars as it grows ever bigger.

“When we look at the black holes in the centers of other galaxies, we see them get bright and then fade, but we never know what is actually happening,” Eliot Quataert, a UC Berkeley astrophysicist said.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to obtain unique observations and insight into the processes that go on as gas falls into a black hole, heats up and emits light,” he said. “It’s a neat window onto a black hole that’s actually capturing gas as it spirals in.”

By 2013, scientists said, they should see outbursts of X-rays and radio waves as the cloud, composed mostly hydrogen and helium gas, gets hotter and is torn apart.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

Facebook Conversations

Join the Discussion:
View Comments to “Astronomers Turn Eyes To Black Hole”

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

Is there news related to personal liberty happening in your area? Contact us at


Sign Up For Personal Liberty Digest™!

PL Badge

Welcome to,
America's #1 Source for Libertarian News!

To join our group of freedom-loving individuals and to get alerts as well as late-breaking conservative news from Personal Liberty Digest™...

Privacy PolicyYou can opt out at any time. We protect your information like a mother hen. We will not sell or rent your email address to anyone for any reason.