back to article Super black hole about to scoff speeding space dinner

Star-gazing boffins using the European Southern Observatory's aptly-named Very Large Telescope have discovered that supermassive black hole Sagittarius A is about to chow down on a huge gas cloud. Simulation of gas cloud after close approach to the black hole Simulation of gas cloud after close approach to the black hole. …


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  1. c4m1k4z3

    >black hole at a distance of around 40bn km, or 36 light-hours

    or X clippo lighters?

  2. Atonnis

    The question is...

    ...did anyone hear a million voices cry out in terror?

    1. tony2heads


      In space no one can hear your scream

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Almighty Ripley* to Black Hole

        "Get away from her, bitch!"

        *or was that the other guy, you know, Chuck Norris?

  3. Olafthemighty
    Thumb Up

    Space is AWESOME! In the true sense, not the farcebook sense.

  4. Fred Mbogo


    At a normal black hole, yes you'll become al dente capellini in before you even cross the event horizon because the tidal force is too strong.

    At a supermassive black hole, you'll probably survive crossing the horizon. If its massive enough, you might even hit the surface of the singularity.

    You'll still die well before that, as any radiation pulled in with you will have its energy boosted due to the massive gravity.

    The interesting question is...what if the singularity is spinning fast enough that its shape is not spherical but ring-like? If we could set aside the radiation, would it be possible for an object to pass through the center? *Cue twilight zone music*

    1. Chris Miller

      A singularity

      has zero surface (by definition). For the largest black holes known (billions of solar masses), you probably couldn't detect the tidal effects when crossing the event horizon at a few hundred AU (and the Hawking radiation would be minimal). You still couldn't get back out, though.

  5. Colin Millar

    Sorry to be a pedant but

    Shouldn't the sub-heading say "Gas cloud barrels away from event horizon"

  6. Velv

    And even with the extra brightness the wee man in the middle of the black hole is still searching for the tripped circuit breaker.

  7. Chris Miller

    3x the *mass* of Earth

    Probably billions of times the size.

  8. FredScummer
    Paris Hilton

    Time stops

    I don't claim to be an expert with this stuff (Prof Hawking won't move over....), but I read someplace that on the event horizon time stops. So that cloud might have a while to go before it no longer exists.

    My theory is that the universe is an everlasting black hole, where we are sitting on the edge of an event horizon where time has stopped. However I haven't been able to secure funding for providing my theory of everything so I will stick to my other theory involving Paris and black holes.

  9. Stevie


    This should finally answer the perennial question: Less Filling or More Taste?

  10. Andy Fletcher

    Er, fuel?

    Black holes don't need fuel. The one at the centre of our galaxy is so large it's not expected to evaporate for thousands of billions of years. Or am I reading the wrong science books.

  11. Local Group

    'a supermassive black hole's gaseous dinner has been observed."

    We are not amused.

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