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Thread: Gas Cloud

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Gas Cloud

    So recently I read a massive gas cloud was going to be sucked up by the black hole at the center of our galaxy. What would be the effects? And I also read that a giant radiation flare would be spitted out several years from the cloud consumption. Would that pose any threat to us and what would happen?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    You'll probably get more detailed answers from others, but basically this would be something we could detect with telescopes, not something that would represent a threat to us. It's believed that we're something like 26,000 light years from the center of the galaxy, so that's a very, very long way.
    As above, so below

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    United Kingdom
    We'll see more x-rays from the galactic core. That is about it. And we will only be able to see them using sensitive instruments on high altitude balloons or in space.

    Black holes feed quite slowly in general, they are certainly not brutal vortices of ultimate doom as they are often portrayed. Most of the energy emitted from their area is simply because gas and stuff is forced to swirl round and round as it is drawn in. It gets hotter as it does this and glows at various wavelengths. The odd blob of gas gets sucked in and you get a flare of x-rays. No drama.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Massachusetts, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    We'll see more x-rays from the galactic core. That is about it. ...
    And probably more far-infrared and sub-millimeter and millimeter as well. We'd probably see optical if the dust clouds weren't in the way. But as Shaula points out, the brightness of this event will be low, as only a small amount of material is expected to fall in. Importantly, we have hope that while this is happening, we will have instrumentation available that will allow is to observe phenomena at/near the event horizon.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    It's not going to hurt us.

    But not everyone is convinced this is a gas cloud: see the penultimate paragraph of this article by Ken Croswell: .

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