Astronomers capture the moment when a star is eaten by a black hole

Science

By CAPosts 13 October, 2020 - 01:30pm 95 views

A team of astronomers detected the last burst of light emitted by a star before being swallowed up by a supermassive black hole. "The idea of a black hole 'sucking in' a nearby star sounds like science fiction. But that's exactly what happens in a tidal disruption event, "explains Matt Nicholl, professor and researcher at the Royal Astronomical Society at the University of Birmingham, UK, and lead author of the study . Tidal disruption event: the death of a star eaten by spaghetti Using the telescopes of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the team was able to observe the effects of the tidal disruption event , the instant in which a star gets so close to the horizon of events from a black hole, which is absorbed by its gravitational pull. Spaghetti is the end result of extreme tidal forces and causes all bodies to stretch in a similar way to spaghetti. Stephen Hawking explained what it is like to fall into this space-time region as follows: “If we fall into a black hole, gravity will pull harder on the feet than on the head, because they are closer to the black hole. The result is that we will be stretched lengthwise and flattened on the sides. If the black hole has a mass a few times that of our Sun, we would be ripped apart and turned into spaghetti before reaching the event horizon ”, explained the cosmologist. The cosmic event occurred 215 million light years from Earth and is the closest ever observed of this nature. © Provided by Very Interesting Photo: Getty Images "We discovered that when a black hole devours a star, it can launch a powerful blast of matter outward that obstructs our view," explains Samantha Oates, also from the University of Birmingham. This happens because the energy released when the black hole feeds on stellar material pushes the debris from the star outwards, ” ESO shared in a statement . Astronomers were able to capture the precise moment because the tidal disruption event was detected shortly after the star was smashed . This allowed them to target AT2019qiz (the region where the event came from) for 6 months with space and ground telescopes, in which they were able to observe 'how the flare grew in luminosity and then faded away': “The observations showed that the star was approximately the same mass as our own Sun and the monstrous black hole, which is more than a million times more massive, had caused it to lose approximately half of that mass, "explains Nicholl. The recording of this event through different instruments and wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum will allow us to know more about black holes and the behavior of objects once they reach the event horizon, the point at which nothing can escape gravity. of this particular region in space-time. The new Microsoft EdgeGet the latest Microsoft recommended browser

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