NASA’s Hubble Was Watching As A Black Hole Tore A Star

NASA's Hubble Was Watching As A Black Hole Tore A Star
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The invisibility of a black hole can be considered its greatest strength. Across the fabric of space, these silent monsters drink every drop of light that drips into their gravitational pulses, bottle up those rays from the observable universe, and wait in the dark for a helpless star to appear. Then they attack.

Now, scientists have Hubble Space Telescope caught the next in such a cosmic nightmare — also known as a tidal disruption event where a black hole feasts on its prey or “collects” a star. The astronomers shared the news Thursday at an American Astronomical Society meeting.

Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian said in a statement. “We saw this as early as we could observe during these very dense black hole accumulation phases.”

Caught in the deadly gravitational embrace of an abyss, this star’s spherical shape was seen to aggressively transform into a twisted sliver of luminous matter. Before Hubble’s glassy eyes, the star shattered mercilessly, until it resembled a warped swirl of fairy dust that encircled the predator, leaving behind a flaming tail to illuminate the normally empty space of space.

In situ, it’s sometimes called a black hole”spaghetti“Matter because even the strongest objects that have the misfortune of getting too close to the gravitational pit turn into flimsy, noodle-like pieces.


This series of artist illustrations shows how a black hole can swallow a passing star. 1. A normal star passes by a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy. 2. The outer gases of the star are drawn into the gravitational field of the black hole. 3. The star shatters as tidal forces tear it apart. 4. The stellar remnants are pulled into an annular ring around the black hole and eventually fall into the black hole, releasing enormous amounts of light and high-energy radiation.

NASA, ESA, Leah Hustak (STScI)

Meanwhile, the black hole swallowed a star’s bagel – scientifically called a bagel at this point – while simultaneously sucking in the gases of the tortured orb, expelling the material as if they were the bones of a delicious chicken dinner. In terms of context, this torus is considered to be the size of ours. all Solar system.

“We’re looking somewhere at the edge of that torus. We see a stellar wind coming from the black hole and sweeping the surface that is projected toward us at 20 million miles per hour,” Maksym said. percent of the speed of light.

It’s not only huge because it’s absolutely gorgeous—but also because galaxies with silent or dormant black holes, as analyzed by Hubble, are only expected to swallow stars every 100,000 years.

“We’re really still trying to figure it out,” Maksym said.

Simulation of a star breaking apart after approaching a black hole.

DESY, Science Communication Laboratory

But it didn’t look like a Hollywood movie.

To be clear, Hubble did not do this. literally Capture images of everything happening in real time. So no, this black hole didn’t look like the iconic Interstellar leviathan from a “binocular” point of view.

I mean, after all, this whole thing happened about 300 million light-years from Earth — which means it was about 300 million years ago, but the light from the event has just arrived on our planet, so we’re seeing it in what we see. say “present tense”.

However, what Hubble did to capture this scene largely allows scientists to deduce what it is. to want If only we could watch the details that unfolded like a movie somehow.

The telescope’s strong ultraviolet sensitivity was able to study the light from the fragmented star that had traveled to Earth over thousands of years, and astronomers were able to basically trace all of these light signals to reveal how the star bent, wrinkled, and wrinkled as it perished.

According to the team’s calculations, you can watch a dream of the event below.

Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian said in a statement. “We’re excited to be able to get these details on what the debris is doing. A tidal event can tell us a lot about a black hole.”

Officially named AT2022dsb, this event was captured on March 1, 2022 by a ground-based telescope network called the All-Sky Automatic Supernova Survey.

This aroused the interest of Hubble astronomers, who immediately acted to try to get some ultraviolet readings of the severe tidal disruption to find as much information as possible about the evolution of the star as it was being torn apart by the black hole. .

“You smash the star and then it takes this matter that’s making its way into the black hole. And so you have models where you think you know what’s going on, and then you really get what you see.” I said. “This is an exciting place for scientists to be: right at the interface of the known and the unknown.”

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