A huge gas cloud is floating through our Milky Way. Its end is near. It is going to be swallowed up by a great black hole.
Astronomers at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, discovered this future collision and now they have the chance of a ring-side seat to see this event due sometime in the middle of next year.
The black hole at the centre of our galaxy was discovered in 1992 and has a mass of about four million times that of the Sun.
The distance to the earth is roughly 27.000 light years – it is the closest black hole astronomers can observe and has been in their focus for many years.
The VLT – very large telescope in Chile is Europe’s ground-based eye into the sky. Astronomers here have been studying the galactic centre. The telescope is playing an important role in helping to know just what will happen in 2013.
In the last few years, the edges of the cloud have already started to shred. Astronomers are excited that they will be able to observe how a black hole sucks up another interstellar object.