Astronomers spot supermassive blackhole destroying star

For the 1st time, astronomers see eruption from black hole as it rips star apart

Theoretical astrophysicists believe that material pulled from the doomed stars forms a rotating disk around the black hole, emitting intense radiation and shoots powerful jets of material from the poles of the disk, close to the speed of light.

Astronomers tracked a supermassive black hole, 20 million times larger than the sun, which ate up and destroyed a star that came too close. When the black hole devoured the star, it spewed a fast group of particles that contained 125 billion times the amount of energy that the sun releases annually.

When a black hole tears apart a star, not all of it ends up sucked into oblivion.

Only a small number of such events, called tidal disruption events (TDEs), have been detected, although astronomers have hypothesized that they may be a more common occurrence. The tidal disruption events not only emit intense X-rays and visible light but also launch jets of material outward at almost the speed of light.

Miguel Perez-Torres from Astrophysical Institute of Andalusia in Spain said. Artist's conception in pullout - background is Hubble Space Telescope image of Arp 299, a pair of colliding galaxies. By July 2005, a new source of radio emission emerged from the location of Arp 299.

Over a decade their continued observations with a range of telescopes revealed that the source of the radio emission appeared to be expanding in one direction.

In the end, one half of the mass of the star is absorbed by the black hole, and the other is thrown away. Although most galaxies have black holes, they're not necessarily out there actively eating everything up.

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First, this phenomenon was mistaken for a supernova, however, detailed calculations showed that for the birth of a supernova the star has enough mass, and the brightness was incredible.

In addition, because of the dust, which absorbs any visible light, this event may only be the tip of the iceberg, with the possibility of new discoveries.

The findings were published in the journal Science on June 14. Image credit: Mattila & Perez-Torres et al / Bill Saxton / NRAO / AUI / NSF.

Astronomers have never had the luxury of observing a so-called "tidal disruption event" in real time, so teams around the world were keen to confirm.

It took years of observations with multiple instruments like the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) and Spitzer Space Telescope, but astronomers recently confirmed they are looking at a tidal disruption event.

The scientists said the discovery of the TDE was particularly surprising. When scientists do spot a TDE, it is an opportunity to learn more about how black holes function in the universe.


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