February 3, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

NASA: the spectacular moment when … a killer black hole “devours” a star

NASA has published stunning images from space that capture the instantaneous movements of a black hole as it destroys and literally devours a wandering star, turning it into oblivion.

Several NASA telescopes recently observed a massive black hole engulfing a nearby star about 250 million light-years from Earth. These are observations that can provide details of the complex and as yet unexplained way they behave. It is noted that this is one of only five complete annihilations of stars by black holes ever recorded by astronomers.

As seen in the shocking video, astronomers suddenly noticed an uncontrolled increase in high-energy X-rays emitted by the black hole, which suddenly began to “circle” the star, and that’s when it fell under its gravitational control. This process is called “corona”.

NASA’s NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescopic Array) satellite is the most “sensitive” space telescope capable of detecting these wavelengths of light, and its detailed approach to this particular event has yielded remarkable insights into how coronas are created and operate, according to new research published today. in the Astrophysical Journal.

This step demonstrates how the destruction of a star by a black hole, a process formally known as tidal disruption and taking weeks to months, can be used to understand what exactly happens to trapped material before it is driven to extinction.

Most black holes that scientists can study are surrounded by hot gas that has accumulated over many years, sometimes even millennia, to form disks billions of kilometers wide.

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