back to article The mysterious giant blobs of gas around our galaxy's black hole are actually massive merger stars being shredded

Astronomers have finally figured out what the peculiar object known as “G2” orbiting the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way is: a behemoth star created from the merger of two binary stars being stretched by the extreme tidal forces around the black hole. The peculiar object has baffled scientists for years …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Cosmic billiard balls

    And the pocket never gives anything back. As soon as we invent folding space or whatever method by which we can get to another star in hours instead of millennia, I will gladly help fund a probe to send over there and stream whatever is happening back.

    Because I don't think putting a Fhloston Paradise-style luxury starship there would be a good thing. The radiation environment over there is probably horrendous.

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Cosmic billiard balls - Playing pool with planets

      "And the pocket never gives anything back."

      Will you relax?! I've seen Gerbil Face play down in the recreation room. He's a diva! He can knock those stripey balls around that table all night long, and I'll tell you what: I've never once seen him lose a single ball down one of those holes!

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Prince of the Planet Potters!

        That episode "White Hole" actually led to a script glitch later on in "Demons and Angels".

        “I tell you one thing. I've been to a parallel universe, I've seen time running backwards, I've played pool with planets, and I've given birth to twins, but I never thought in my entire life I'd taste an edible Pot Noodle." - Lister, Demons and Angels

        The problem being that the whole point of the White Hole was that it was 'spewing' time, and when they blocked it off the time thread they were on would disappear and what they had done in that episode would not have happened. So how did Lister recall potting the planet?!?

        Obviously a blonde moment ----->

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Prince of the Planet Potters!

          Red Dwarf had a notoriously loose approach to continuity at anything other than the broadest scale. There are countless inconsistencies like that if you want to start nitpicking at that level!

          The irony is that hardcore Red Dwarf fans are some of the most stereotypically anally-retentive geek types most likely to spot and obsess over such things.

          Not that I'm accusing you of being one, of course. ;-)

  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    "stars being stretched by the extreme tidal forces around the black hole."

    Oh, like BREXIT then....

  3. David 132 Silver badge
    Happy

    Giant blobs around a black hole?

    So, they're not cosmic Chalfonts, then?

  4. tiggity Silver badge

    Spaghetti monster home?

    See title

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Spaghetti monster home?

      A place for the creation of noodly appendages on a cosmic scale.

    2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Spaghetti monster home?

      One spaghetti monster in your home, coming right up.

      https://alchetron.com/cdn/dragons-domain-cb921d49-b911-46e7-93c0-715af2bc002-resize-750.jpeg

      Smoking stripped down to the bone & spat back out corpses are merely a courtesy detail.

  5. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    Another FSM comment!

    That is just the noodly appendage of the Flying Spaghetti Monster keeping the black hole spinning as it should!

    Why is there no FSM icon?!?

    1. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Another FSM comment!

      The interesting theological point is why a noodly appendage should itself manifest at the base physical level near a black hole, when only its action does so elsewhere.

      The suggestion seems plausible that most are so thin they pass undetected, whereas such a massive object requires an extra-thick, and therefore visible, appendage.

      But the extra width cannot be for base physical reasons, it has to be metaphysical: the FSM can size His appenadges as He pleases and implying He cannot would be heresy. So why would He want to? Might it be a Sign given to the faithful, unarguable proof of His existence and benificence?

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Aaaargh!

        Our pasta, who art in a colander, draining be your noodles. Thy noodle come, Thy sauce be yum, on top some grated Parmesan. Give us this day, our garlic bread, …and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trample on our lawns. And lead us not into vegetarianism, but deliver us some pizza, for thine is the meatball, the noodle, and the sauce, forever and ever. R’amen.

      2. steelpillow Silver badge

        Re: Another FSM comment!

        "But the extra width cannot be for base physical reasons" is of course naive. If the FSM wants to adopt a base physical reason, who are we to argue?

        Within the context of the extreme curvature of the relativistic Minkowski metric in the neigbourhood of a black hole, the following hypothesis occurs to me. In this region, it is well known that certain aspects of space begin to become timelike, while time begins to become spacelike. It is unarguable that a noodly appendage exists in time - the one that holds me down will last throughout my life. But let us suppose that it has no existence in physical (real) 3-space. Now bring it close to a black hole, causing its local Minkowski metric to rotate. Its spatial characteristic becomes partly timelike, which means to say that it now exists in space. Hence, we can now see it. But how come it still exists in time? I suspect that the partial rotation of the Minkowski metric causes the appendage to have a kind of partial or distributed existence in both space and time. Only when it reaches the central singularity will it completely disappear from time.

        If this is true, then we have here a wonderful example of how a baffling mystery in classical space and time may be fully explained by moving to a relativistic model.

        My, what was in that tea I just drank?

        1. Kane Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Another FSM comment!

          "My, what was in that tea I just drank?"

          That wasn't tea, my friend!

          1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

            Re: Another FSM comment!

            I suspect that the leaves that were steeped did not come from camellia sinensis!

      3. HildyJ Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Another FSM comment!

        Your faith has boiled far beyond al dente.

        The whole point of the FSM is that he doesn't do parlour tricks to appease his followers. To claim otherwise is to make him no more than an illusionist and put his faithful in the same category as deluded christians who claim to see their god in the big bang.

        1. steelpillow Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Another FSM comment!

          That is one view. Do I feel a schism coming on? I know what we need to sit down over:

  6. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Happy

    And I quote...

    “G2 survived and continued happily on its orbit;"

    I'm fairly certain that being in the tidal wash of a supermassive blackhole, a happy object does not make... Still made my day at the thought.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: And I quote...

      It's still one body and hasn't been ripped into a billion pieces.

      Yet.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: And I quote...

        But it has been ripped into a billion pieces. It's just that one of those pieces is still a star almost as massive as the binary pair from which it formed.

      2. Psmo Silver badge

        Re: And I quote...

        ...yet.

        Seeing as how the centre of the milky way is about 26490 ±100 light-years away, we don't know that the object still exists.

        That's why the past tense was used describing it.

        By throwing a probe closer, we'd fast-forward through time.

        However, probe communications are also limited by the speed of light so we'd still get information at the same time, unless we figure out quantum-entangled comms.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: And I quote...

          Since there's no absolute frame of reference, and information cannot be transmitted faster than C, for most purposes it makes just as much sense to talk about it in the present tense.

          1. Psmo Silver badge

            Re: And I quote...

            information cannot be transmitted faster than C

            In theory quantum entanglement might not be contrained by this.

        2. HelpfulJohn Bronze badge

          Re: And I quote...

          If you have hardware that can exceed light-speed but no similar radio you simply include passenger drones, homing pigeons with small message pouches, in the probe's design. That way, she can report home, get updates, fixes and mission alterations and generally behave as though she's operating close to Home Base.

          In reality, as there is no such thing as "faster than light" [except for electrons flying through water and such like peculiarities] the entire mission is moot.

          It's a pity. I'd love to watch a time-lapse of SagA*'s local dances.

  7. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Binars

    The stars at the center of the galaxy are massive and mostly binaries

    Why binaries?

    1. Julz Silver badge

      Re: Binars

      Don't know, but perhaps to do with there being lots of stuff there to make stars out of so when it accrets there is enough to make two stars not just a single star and some rubble.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Binars

      Because two's company? And tea is for two - and in the long dark teatime of the soul - you need someone to share the Jaffa Cakes with.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Re: Binars

        Remember that if the parent comment reaches 42 upvotes it will be necessary to stop there!

    3. Mystic Megabyte
      Alien

      Re: Binars

      According to the article on Phys.org

      "Ghez believes all six objects were binary stars—a system of two stars orbiting each other—that merged because of the strong gravitational force of the supermassive black hole. The merging of two stars takes more than 1 million years to complete, Ghez said."

      https://phys.org/news/2020-01-astronomers-class-strange-galaxy-enormous.html

    4. Roj Blake

      Re: Binars

      The stellar density is far higher in a galaxy's core than in its spiral arms. Having stars more tightly packed means that more of them will be gravitationally bound to other stars.

  8. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    Noodles of any sort exiting Uranus is extremely worrisome

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