Astronomers have discovered a black hole in the deep galaxy that removed a star millions of light-years from Earth.
The process, known as “spaghettification,” saw a black hole create an explosion of light visible to 215 million light-years from Earth, the “closest such fire recorded to date,” the researcher in a statement. A light-year, which measures distance from space, is approximately 6 trillion miles.
“The idea of a black hole ‘absorbing’ a nearby star is like science fiction,” said Matt Nicholl, lead author of the study and co-researcher at the Royal Astronomical Society at the University of Birmingham, UK. in the statement. “But this is exactly what happens in an incident of tidal disruption.”;
An event in tidal disruption occurs when a star is very close to a black hole. The gravity of the black hole is so intense it will stretch and use anything approaching it, like a piece of spaghetti.
The explosion of light has caught many telescopes around the world, prompting scientists to look at the anomaly for months to make sure their initial observations are correct.
“An event in tidal disruption results from the destruction of a star farther near a supermassive black hole,” added co-author and astronomer of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Edo Berger. “In this case, the star was torn with about half of its mass feeding – or accumulation – into a black hole a million times the size of the Sun, and half was removed outside.”
Finding these events (this one is known as AT2019qiz) is incredibly rare, but it is easier to study because it was discovered in advance, said Kate Alexander, NASA Einstein Fellow at Northwestern University.
“This is a unique ‘peek behind the curtain’ that provided the first opportunity to identify the source of the obscure material and follow in real time how it swallows the black hole,” Alexander explained.
“The AT2019qiz is the closest event to the water turbulence disruption discovered so far, and therefore, incredibly well-observed across the electromagnetic spectrum,” Berger added. “This is the first case where we see direct evidence for gas flow during the disruption and accretion process that explains both the optics and radio emissions we have seen in the past. Until now, the nature of these emissions are highly controversial, but here we see that the two regimes are connected through a single process.This event teaches us about the detailed physical processes of accretion and mass ejection from the supermassive black hole . “
The research was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
In January, astronomers discovered four “strange” objects orbiting a huge black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, known as the Sagittarius A *.
In May 2019, astronomers observed the sudden brightening of Sagittarius A *, suggesting that it could interact with another celestial object. Also known as Sgr A, * it has a mass 4 million times that of the sun and 25,000 light-years from Earth.
In October 2018, astronomers observed Sgr A * pulling gas blobs into its vortex at 30 percent of the speed of light.
In April 2019, scientists released the first image of a black hole, seen in a galaxy 55 million light-years from Earth.