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Mysterious Object Near the Milky Way Galaxy's Massive Black Hole Puzzles Astronomers

First Posted: Jan 01, 2015 07:56 AM EST
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A mysterious object at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy has astronomers wondering exactly what it is. Not only that, but astronomers have identified another object which made a tight orbit around the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy 13 years ago and might be related; it's a gas cloud that could just be one in a series.

The newly discovered object is now called G1, while the object known as G2 is what is probably a gas cloud. If it is, indeed, a gas cloud, then it's likely it will lose some of its material to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, which should give astronomers the opportunity to watch a black hole "eat," according to Fox News.

"Our basic idea is that G1 and G2 might be clumps of the same gas streamer," said Oliver Pfuhl, one of the researchers, in a news release. "In this case, we should be able to simultaneously fit both data sets and, indeed, our model captures the G1 and G2 orbits remarkably well."

Yet while some believe that G2 is a gas cloud, researchers in this latest study argue that it's more likely a star surrounded by a layer of dust and gas. G2 made its closest approach to the black hole this summer-and wasn't torn apart. This means that it's very possible that it's a solid body.

If the gas cloud theory is wrong, then we'll see G2 remain compact until the end of 2015. This will essentially prove that it's not a pure gas cloud, according to Space.com.

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