STATES CHRONICLE – Astronomers deserve a huge hashtag “this is something you don’t see every day” for taking a look at a massive star swallowed by black hole. The report was published in the US journal Science and states that researchers have been tracking this star, which was similar in size to our Sun.
This was the first time astronomers witnessed such an event in detail. The supermassive black hole completely destroyed the star. The scientists were able to see it with the help of both an optical and a radio telescope. Although several studies suggested that when a tidal disruption event happens we should see a jet, we now have the proof.
The black hole is surrounded by a disk. What happens is that the stellar debris forming streams that are located on the disk can very quickly form into jets. These jets produce an energy that equals our Sun energy output over 10 million years.
What made it easier to track this black hole is that it’s not that far from the Earth. To be more specific it is only 300 million light-years away. This means that after locating the supernova with an optical telescope, the astronomers were able to observe the star’s destruction in about three weeks.
Because of the gravitational pull of the black hole, the star drifted from its usual path and slipped closer to the supernova that engulfed it completely, releasing a jet afterwards. Although jets were spotted before, the actual destruction of the star is something new. What puzzles astronomers is that, although extremely spectacular, the jet seemed to have a lower power than the ones which were previously observed.
The team conducting the research was made up by a number of 13 scientists from the US, Australia, Britain and the Netherlands led by Sjoert van Velzen and took place at the Johns Hopkins University.
Scientists hope that the findings will help them get a better understanding of the way supermassive black holes function and how they are able to launch these incredibly large and spectacular jets after annihilating the stars.
And who knows? Maybe in the future, with the help of technology you won’t have to be an astronomer to witness this event of galactic proportions.
Image source: www.bing.com