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Black Hole Swallows Star, Belches Particles as Scientists Watch

Black Hole Swallows Star, Belches Particles as Scientists Watch

Stars collapse in a deep black hole, attracted by the huge gravitational field. The black hole looks like an eye or an iris in the sky. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. (Karayuschij/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 15 June 2018 03:48 PM

A colossal black hole swallowed a star whole and belched out a jet of particles as a team of scientists watched in awe.

The team of 36 scientists around the world — led by Miguel Perez-Torres of the Astrophysical Institute of Andalusia in Granada, Spain, and Seppo Mattila of the University of Turku in Finland — witnessed the spectacle through radio and infrared telescopes.

They published their findings Thursday in Science in a report titled ”A dust-enshrouded tidal disruption event with a resolved radio jet in a galaxy merger.” 

“Never before have we been able to directly observe the formation and evolution of a jet from one of these events,” study co-author Pérez-Torres said in a statment.

The black hole is 20 million times the size of Earth's star, the sun. However, it’s also well outside gobbling distance — more than 150 million light-years away.

The researchers used the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), an amplifying radar employing a 25-meter antenna, to observe the plume of particles the black hole burped after consuming the star.

The gravitational pull of super massive black holes is so strong that not even light can escape, giving them their name.

“By looking for these events with infrared and radio telescopes, we may be able to discover many more (jet streams), and learn from them,” Mattila said in the statement.

Earlier this year, a black hole “double burp” was discovered.

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A colossal black hole swallowed a star whole and belched out a jet of particles as a team of scientists watched in awe.
black hole, swallows, star, belch, particles
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2018-48-15
Friday, 15 June 2018 03:48 PM
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