Separation of a binary star in the G2 cloud at pericenter showing the trajectories of the companion and parent star.
April 17, 2014 by P. LaViolette
Calculations performed some days ago have revised the date when a companion star could potentially impact impact the galactic core and trigger a superwave. These indicate that from the time that the companion is tidally stripped off the parent star when the G2 cloud reaches pericenter (~April 1st ± 3 weeks) it will take about 4 to 5 months for the star to loop around and fall onto the core; see diagram below. Previous estimate of 2 to 3 weeks did not take account of the fact that the primary star is traveling at over 6000 km/s and hence some time is required for the core’s gravitational field to counter this momentum and redirect the star’s path inward. So the new impact/superwave date is moved up to mid August. Note that this matches with Padre Avondios’ prediction that astronomers would see something this July to August that would provide validation for the superwave discussion being posted here. But, given that a core impact is one of several possible outcomes for a separated companion star or planet, I still stick to my previous prediction that there is no more than an 8 percent chance that some kind of core impact will occur.