A black hole is wreaking havoc on our galaxy.  The scale of the destruction is enormous

The greater the culprit in all the confusion is an object in the Milky Way. This black hole has recently extended – at least from the perspective of Earth observers – a cloud of dust 3,000 times the size of the distance between Earth and the sun. To be precise, this distance is about 150 million kilometers. We leave the math to you.

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This cloud is called X7 and its mass is 50 times that of our planet. It orbits the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*. The current dimensions of this dust cloud are, of course, the result of the gravitational influence of the black hole.

Observations of these events began in 2002, with astronomers using instruments aboard the Keck Telescope in Hawaii. The clear sky there, full of bright spots at night, is an ideal place to make observations. For more than two decades, scientists have accumulated a wealth of data on Sagittarius A* by assessing its impact on the environment.

The instrument turned out to be crucial to the observations made NIRC2, thanks to which you can enjoy the universe in the near infrared. This radiation can pass through the dust, allowing scientists to see what they cannot see with the naked eye. It currently takes about 170 years for the dust cloud to make a full orbit around the black hole. The next contact should take place in 2036. Then the cloud’s days will be numbered, as it will soon break into small pieces, to finally be swallowed up.

The black hole Sagittarius A* spewed out a cloud of dust equal to 50 times the mass of Earth

The authors write about the details of the research conducted in the pages Astrophysical Journal. And they predict that at some point, Sagittarius A* will engulf the material that currently makes up the shell. Since this type of phenomenon is usually accompanied by the expansion and heating of matter, we can expect an amazing display related to the increase in brightness in the event horizon of the black hole.

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While the cloud’s nearest years—and indeed how it appeared, given the distance from this scene we admire events long past—were quite clear, but its past is becoming less clear. One hypothesis is that they were formed when two stars merged. The merger of these bodies was accompanied by the expulsion of matter that collided with space and led to the existence of a giant cloud.

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