Scientists record last moments of star devoured by black hole — ScienceDaily

A rare blast of light, emitted by a star as it is sucked in by a supermassive black hole, has been spotted by scientists using telescopes from around the world.

The phenomenon, known as a tidal disruption event, is the closest flare of its kind yet recorded, occurring just 215 million light-years from Earth. It is caused when a star passes too close to a black hole and the extreme gravitational pull from the black hole shreds the star into thin streams of material — a process called ‘spaghettification’. During this process some of the material falls into the black hole, releasing a bright flare of energy which astronomers can detect.

Tidal disruption events are rare and not always easy to study because they are usually obscured by a curtain of dust and debris. An international team of scientists led by the University of Birmingham were able to study this

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ESO telescopes record last moments of star devoured by a black hole — ScienceDaily

Using telescopes from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and other organisations around the world, astronomers have spotted a rare blast of light from a star being ripped apart by a supermassive black hole. The phenomenon, known as a tidal disruption event, is the closest such flare recorded to date at just over 215 million light-years from Earth, and has been studied in unprecedented detail. The research is published today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“The idea of a black hole ‘sucking in’ a nearby star sounds like science fiction. But this is exactly what happens in a tidal disruption event,” says Matt Nicholl, a lecturer and Royal Astronomical Society research fellow at the University of Birmingham, UK, and the lead author of the new study. But these tidal disruption events, where a star experiences what’s known as spaghettification as it’s sucked in by a black hole,

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