Telescope Captures The Stunning Black Hole Devoured
Astronomers have captured the moment a supermassive black hole shredded a star the size of our Sun. They have released photos in unparalleled detail on Monday showing the catastrophic process.
The phenomenon, called a tidal disruption event, occurred only 215 million light-years from Earth. The star gets torn and sucked into the giant maw of the black hole.
Matt Nicholl, the lead author of the report, said that although the concept of a black hole pulling in a nearby star sounds like science fiction. It is actually what happens in a tidal disruption event. They used ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) and ESO’s New Technology Telescope (NTT) to study the phenomenon.
“The idea of a black hole ‘sucking in’ a nearby star sounds like science fiction,” said Matt Nicholl, a lecturer and Royal Astronomical Society research fellow at the University of Birmingham, lead author of Monday’s study. “But that’s exactly what happens in a tidal disruption event.”
The Process Explained
“When these forces exceed the star’s cohesive force, the star loses pieces that rush into the black hole,” Stephane Basa, a researcher from the Marseille Astrophysics Laboratory, told AFP.
A curtain of dust and debris frequently obscures the powerful burst of light that they emit. The occurrence was detected only after a short time after the star was torn apart. The team was able to determine how the darkening debris developed.
They watched the occurrence using high-powered telescopes. The light flare increased in luminosity and then eventually faded — a process of about six months.
Another study author, Samantha Oates, went on to say that when a black hole eats up a star, it can initiate a powerful explosion of material in the outer direction that obstructs the vision. This occurs because, according to Oates, the energy emitted as the black hole east of the star drives the debris outward.
They watched the occurrence using high-powered telescopes as the light flare increased in luminosity. Then eventually faded a process of about six months.
Nicholl said the findings revealed that the star involved had approximately the mass of our sun. It is about a million times larger.
The team behind the research, published in the Royal Astronomical Society’s Monthly Notices journal, said they hoped that it would help scientists understand better how matter behaves in the intense gravity environments surrounding supermassive black holes.