The next 18 years will be exciting times if you have the patience to watch a cloud of space gas get devoured by the all-but-proven supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. This gas has been headed for the center of our galaxy for a few years now. Here are direct images from the ESO Southern Observatory in Chile:
You may have been resigned to thinking of the center of our galaxy as a featureless thing resembling the yolk on a fried egg. But the new telescopes, like Chile-ESO, can peer inside this opaque egg yolk. The images above are all images of massive stars orbiting inside this previously secret place in the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The stars' motion makes more sense when viewed as an animated video from the European Space Observatory.
Stills from an animation artist's conception of the upcoming gas carnage, which will last for the next 20 years or so:
In both stills shown above the moving stars of our inner galactic center are shown in white while the doomed gas cloud is shown in orange, both before encountering the black hole (left) and after (right).