During its orbit, it comes as close as 17 light-hours
to the black hole, which is about 120 times the distance between the sun and Earth.
It's four light-hours
to the edges of the solar system; to the closest star, four light-years.
In 2018 the S2 star will be at its closest to the black hole, just 17 light-hours
away from it and travelling at almost 30 million kilometres per hour, or 2.
The ionized gas at the head of the cloud is now stretched over more than 150 light-hours
(about 160 billion kilometers) at the pericenter of the orbit around the black hole, with the closest approach being about 25 light-hours
(or a bit more than 25 billion kilometers)," Stefan Gillessen from MPE, who led the observing team, said.
22, more than four hours of light-hours
have moved over to the dark side.
Even way up here in Canada we're only 8 light-minutes from the Sun, whereas Pluto is more than 5 light-hours
By mid-2013 the gas cloud is expected to pass in its vicinity at a distance of only 36 light-hours
(equivalent to 40,000,000,000 km), which is extremely close in astronomical terms.
Being only 11 light-hours
away after a speedy voyage of 30 years gives one an appreciation for the true extent of a light-year, which in the cosmic scheme is itself quite tiny.
At its closest approach last March, S2 swung within just 17 light-hours
(125 astronomical units) of the black hole, only three times the average distance of Pluto from the Sun.
from the home star (more than 10 light-hours
away) and 44 a.