Astronomers witness the dying flare of a star torn apart by a black hole halfway across the Universe
By James Miller-Jones, Professor, Curtin University
Adelle Goodwin, Associate research scientist, Curtin University
Some stars just get unlucky. There are billions of stars within a typical galaxy. Yet once every 100,000 years or so, one of those stars will wander too close to the supermassive black hole lurking at the galaxy’s centre and be torn apart. These cosmic behemoths weigh in at millions to billions of times the mass of our Sun, and their immense gravitational force can destroy an unlucky star.
The stellar debris spirals in towards the black hole, which feeds on the remains. However, black holes are messy eaters. In a small fraction of cases, this stellar destruction can power an energetic…
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- Wednesday, November 30, 2022