Scientists observe how a black hole 'sucks' a star

Science

By CAPosts 12 October, 2020 - 01:16pm 54 views

A group of scientists located a supermassive black hole "sucking" a star some 215 million light years from Earth, causing it to "spaghetti". © Provided by Newsweek The term spaghetti is used to describe the strange vertical stretching that occurs when an object passes through extreme gravitational fields. Black holes in particular possess that enormous gravitational force, from which, beyond a certain point, known as the event horizon, nothing, not even light, can escape. The stretch experienced by anything that comes close to a black hole is so powerful that no object would be able to withstand the forces exerted, so it would be torn apart. "If a human being were to get close enough to a black hole, for example, feet first, the force of gravity would increase so much that the gravity at his feet would be much greater than the force of gravity at his head," he said. to Newsweek in an email Morgan Hollis, spokesperson for the Royal Astronomical Society of the United Kingdom. Read more: The Nobel Prize in Physics awards three “black hole” experts “This would make the person stretch vertically, much like how the dough is stretched to form spaghetti; hence the term 'spaghetti' ”. The term has been in use since at least the late 1970s and also appears in Stephen Hawking's well-known Short History of Time , the first edition of which dates from 1988. Stars can also experience “spaghetti” during which stars Astrophysicists call it "tidal disturbance events." These occur when stars get too close to supermassive black holes and are disintegrated by their extreme gravitational pull. This was what happened to a star located about 215 million light years from Earth, which has been documented in a study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society . Last year, a team of scientists observed a powerful flash of light produced by a supermassive black hole that was devouring the star. “The idea of a black hole 'devouring' a nearby star seems like science fiction. But this is exactly what happens in a tidal disturbance event, ”Matt Nicholl of the University of Birmingham, UK, and lead author of the study, said in a statement. Find out: They discover an unprecedented black hole thanks to gravitational waves The black hole in question has a mass equivalent to about a million times that of the Sun. The researchers say that about half the mass of the star was captured in what is known as an accretion disk that surrounds the black hole, while the other half was ejected outwards in a powerful jet of material that reached a speed close to 35'405.568 kilometers per hour. An accretion disk is a hot, thin, spinning structure made up of matter that falls into the black hole. In this case, the scientists observed that dust and debris from the star was sucked into the black hole's accretion disk just before the star was torn apart. The tidal disturbance event mentioned in the study, called "AT2019qiz", is the closest event of this nature to Earth that has been observed, thus providing unprecedented information about this phenomenon. It could help us better understand how black holes interact with the matter around them. "This event gives us information on the detailed physical processes of accretion and ejection of mass by supermassive black holes," said Edo Berger, of Harvard University and co-author of the study, in the statement. - Published in cooperation with Newsweek / Published in cooperation with Newsweek

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