Watch Live as Astronomers Look for Object ‘G2′ in Observing Run Webcast from the Keck Observatory

by Nancy Atkinson on July 3, 2014

Wondering about the latest news on the intriguing object called ‘G2′ that is making its closest approach to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy? You might be able to get the latest update on this object in real time during a rare live-streamed observing run from the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Watch live above.

The two 10-meter Keck Observatory telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea will be steered by astronomer Andrea Ghez and her team of observers from the UCLA Galactic Center Group for two nights to study our galaxy’s supermassive black hole, with an attempt to focus in on the enigmatic G2 to see if it is still intact. They’ll also be setting up a test for Einstein’s General Relativity and gathering more data on what they describe as The Paradox of Youth: young objects paradoxically developing around the black hole.

Here’s the time for the livestream in various timezones:

July 3, 2014 @ 9 pm – 10 pm Hawaii
July 4, 2014 @ Midnight – 1 am Pacific
July 4, 2014 @ 3 am – 4 am Eastern

This simulation shows the possible behavior of a gas cloud that has been observed approaching the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Graphic by ESO/MPE/Marc Schartmann.

This simulation shows the possible behavior of a gas cloud that has been observed approaching the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Graphic by ESO/MPE/Marc Schartmann.

The most previous observations by the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, according to an Astronomer’s Telegram from May 2, 2014 show that the gas cloud called ‘G2′ was surprisingly still intact, even during its closest approach to the supermassive black hole. This means G2 is not just a gas cloud, but likely has a star inside.

“We conclude that G2, which is currently experiencing its closest approach, is still intact, in contrast to predictions for a simple gas cloud hypothesis and therefore most likely hosts a central star,” said the May 2 Telegram. “Keck LGSAO observations of G2 will continue in the coming months to monitor how this unusual object evolves as it emerges from periapse passage.”

For additional info, see our two previous articles about G2:

Gas Cloud or Star? Mystery Object Heading Towards our Galaxy’s Supermassive Black Hole is Doomed
Object “G2? Still Intact at Closest Approach to Galactic Center, Astronomers Report

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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