Scientists observed the brightest supernova they had ever seen in January, and they have now discovered that it was created when a black hole ripped a star apart and caused very bright explosions to occur.
After observing the event for 10 months, it has been reclassified as a tidal disruption event, or TDE, which is the name for what happens when the gravitational forces of a black hole that is rotating pull at a star that passes too closely, CNET reported.
Scientists theorize that after the star was pulled apart and exploded, the pieces probably collided with each other before falling into the black hole, which created the extremely bright blast they observed 3.8 billion light years away.
The study was done in collaboration by many European and American Institutes including University of California Santa Barbara and the European Southern Observatory, according to Forbes.
The research will be published in the first-ever edition of Nature Astronomy.
“Years ago we just wouldn’t have been able to follow an event like this,” co-author Andy Howell, leader of the supernova group at the LCO and an adjunct professor in UCSB’s department of physics said, Forbes reported.
“This study shows that large-area surveys, a global robotic telescope network, and a NASA satellite can come together to reveal dramatic new discoveries that wouldn’t be possible without each piece of that puzzle.”
The team points out that the black hole is on a massive scale, at least 100 million times the mass of our sun. Even so, the only way a black hole this size would be able to pull a star apart is if it was a rapidly spinning Kerr black hole, Forbes reported.
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