In a first, astronomers spot supermassive black hole destroying a star


Photo Credit: Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF; NASA, STScI
Photo Credit: Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF; NASA, STScI

Astronomers have spotted a supermassive black hole ripping apart a star wandering too close to the cosmic monster.

This led to the formation and expansion of a fast-moving jet of material ejected after the black hole destroyed the star and astronomers have directly imaged it for the first time ever.

The event was tracked using radio and infrared telescopes, including the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), in a pair of colliding galaxies called Arp 299, nearly 150 million light-years from Earth.

The black hole was 20 million times more massive than the Sun and it shredded the star which was more than twice the mass of Sun, leaving a chain of events.

“Never before have we been able to directly observe the formation and evolution of a jet from one of these events,” said Miguel Perez-Torres, of the Astrophysical Institute of Andalusia in Spain.

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