Astronomers have discovered a black hole in deep space that tore the star millions of light-years from Earth.
The process, known as spaghettization, showed that the black hole created an explosion of light seen 215 million light-years from Earth, “the closest such flash to date,” the researchers said. A light-year that measures distance in space is about 6 trillion miles.
The idea of a “black hole” sucking in a “neighboring star sounds like science fiction,” said Matt Nicholl, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Royal Astronomical Society at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. “But that’s exactly what̵7;s happening. in case of inflow and outflow “.
The ebb and flow event occurs when a star approaches a black hole. The gravity of a black hole is so intense that it will stretch and ruin any nearby object that looks like a piece of spaghetti.
The explosion of light was recorded by several telescopes around the world, forcing scientists to study the anomaly for months to make sure that their initial observations were correct.
“The event response to the tides is the result of the destruction of a star that strays too close to a supermassive black hole,” added Edo Berger, co-author of the study and astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “In this case, the star was torn by about half of its mass supply – or build-up – into a black hole that is a million times the mass of the Sun, and the other half was thrown out.”
Finding these events (known as AT2019qiz) is incredibly rare, but it was easier to analyze because it was discovered so early, said Kate Alexander, a NASA employee at Einstein University in Northwestern University.
“This is a unique” look behind the curtain “, which gave the first opportunity to determine the origin of the blackout material and track in real time how it absorbs a black hole,” – said Alexander.
“AT2019qiz is the closest tide event to date, and is therefore incredibly well observed in the electromagnetic spectrum,” Berger added. “This is the first time we have seen direct evidence of gas outflow during the destruction and build-up process, which explains both the optical and radio emissions we have observed in the past. There is still much controversy about the nature of these emissions, but here we see that the two regimes are linked by a single process. This event teaches us about the detailed physical processes of mass building and ejection from supermassive black holes. “
The study was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
In January, astronomers spotted four “strange” objects orbiting a massive black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy known as Sagittarius A *.
In May 2019, astronomers observed the sudden glow of Sagittarius A *, suggesting that it may have been in contact with another celestial object. Also known as Sgr A, * it has a mass 4 million times that of the Sun and is 25,000 light-years from Earth.
In October 2018, astronomers watched as Sgr A * drew gas droplets into its vortex at 30 percent of the speed of light.
In April 2019, scientists published the first-ever image of a black hole seen in a galaxy 55 million light-years from Earth.