PAUL LAVIOLETTE • G2 CLOUD SUPER WAVE APPROACH
There have been new developments in the story on the G2 Cloud. Recent observations of the G2 cloud made in the near infrared at the Keck Observatory indicate that the cloud will reach its closest approach to the Galactic center around mid March of 2014 instead of June of this year. Also the new findings indicate that G2′s orbit will take the cloud twice as close to the GC than previously thought. The distance of closest approach is now predicted to be 130 AU rather than 266 AU, as previously thought. If the star embedded in the G2 cloud is a binary system or contains a single star with orbiting planets, there is the danger that the Galactic core may tidally strip away the lower mass companion star or one or more companion planets at the time the stellar system is at orbital pericenter closest to the core. In that case the consequences could be catastrophic. For example, if an entire 100 jupiter mass brown dwarf were to plunge into the Galactic core in one sudden event, it is almost certain that it could jump-start the core into an active Seyfert state and generate a potentially lethal superwave.
"One thing that we should be seriously concerned about is astronomer's nonchalant attitude in their observation of the encounter of the G2 cloud with our Galaxy's core. As noted in the Galactic Pinball posting about the G2 cloud encounter, astronomers are actually hoping to see "fireworks" to learn more about how "black holes dine". They don't realize that, if the galactic core does erupt in fireworks strong enough to produce a superwave, then the moment we see the outburst, the superwave cosmic rays will be here at our doorstep and will start to bite us. Perhaps they think that just because the Galactic center lies 23,000 light years away, there is nothing to worry about."--Paul LaViolette"
Trajectory of the G2 cloud as it nears the Galactic core.