Awesome NASA image shows Black Hole eating a Star

The star being destroyed by a black hole was 10 million times the mass of our Sun.

| Updated on: Dec 23 2022, 12:34 IST
Terror in the sky! Black Hole found CLOSE to Earth; it is 10 times BIGGER than Sun
Black hole
1/5 The black hole that is closest to planet Earth has been found by astronomers utilising the International Gemini Observatory, run by the NOIRLab of the NSF. And it is terrifying! It is not only massive, but it is also close to Earth! "It has been confirmed that a dormant stellar-mass black hole exists in the Milky Way for the first time. With only 1600 light-years between it and Earth, it is a fascinating subject for research to improve our knowledge of the development of binary systems," a report by ANI said. (AFP)
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2/5 The closest black hole to Earth has been named Gaia BH1 by astronomers. It is three times closer to Earth than the previous record-holder, an X-ray pair in the constellation of the Monoceros. This dormant black hole is around 10 times as big as the Sun and is situated about 1600 light-years away in the constellation Ophiuchus. (Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration)
Black hole
3/5 The most extreme things in the universe are black holes. All huge galaxies presumably have supermassive versions of these unfathomably dense objects at their centres. There are an estimated 100 million stellar-mass black holes in the Milky Way alone, which are significantly more prevalent and weigh five to one hundred times as much as the Sun. (NASA)
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4/5 What is a Black Hole? According to NASA, a black hole is an astronomical object with a gravitational pull so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape it. A black hole’s “surface,” called its event horizon, defines the boundary where the velocity needed to escape exceeds the speed of light, which is the speed limit of the cosmos. Matter and radiation fall in, but they can’t get out. (NASA)
Black Hole
5/5 Formation of Black Hole: A stellar-mass black hole formation happens when a star with more than 20 solar masses (1 solar mass is the mass of our sun) exhausts the nuclear fuel in its core and collapses under its own weight. The collapse triggers a supernova explosion that blows off the star’s outer layers. But if the crushed core contains more than about three times the Sun’s mass, no known force can stop its collapse into itself and the birth of a black hole. The origin of supermassive black holes is poorly understood, but we know they exist from the very earliest days of a galaxy’s lifetime. Once born, black holes can grow by accreting matter that falls into them, including gas stripped from neighboring stars and even other black holes. (NASA)
Black Hole
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A number of NASA telescopes have observed an enormous black hole destroying a star that came too close. (NASA)

A number of NASA telescopes have observed an enormous black hole destroying a star that came too close. It was 10 million times the mass of our Sun. This was the 5th-closest example of a black hole eating a star ever observed.

The telescope that NASA has deployed for the job is the NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescopic Array). It is the best space telescope capable of scrutinizing these wavelengths of light.

Observing the destruction of a star by a black hole serves a big purpose for humanity. Information can be used to better understand what happens to material that's captured by these stars before being fully depleted. A black hole destroying a star is also known as a "tidal disruption event"

When a star wanders too close to a black hole, the intense gravity will stretch the star out until it comes to be a long river of hot gas.

The gas is then blown away around the black hole and is slowly pulled into orbit, forming a bright disk around the black hole.

The focus of this new image is an event called AT2021ehb, which took place in a galaxy with a central black hole. During this tidal disruption event, the side of the star nearest the black hole was pulled harder than the far side of the star, extending the entire thing apart and vacating nothing but a long noodle of hot gas.

Scientists think that the stream of gas gets whipped around a black hole during such events, colliding with itself. The event was first spotted on March 1, 2021, by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), located at the Palomar Observatory in Southern California.

Then, around 300 days after the event was first spotted, NASA's NuSTAR began observing the system. Scientists were surprised when NuSTAR detected a corona – a cloud of hot plasma, or gas atoms with their electrons stripped away – since coronae usually appear with jets of gas that flow in opposite directions from a black hole.

“We've never seen a tidal disruption event with X-ray emission like this without a jet present, and that's really spectacular because it means we can potentially disentangle what causes jets and what causes coronae,” said Yuhan Yao, a graduate student at Caltech in Pasadena, California, and lead author of the new study.

More tidal disruption events have been identified and are being observed with telescopes like Swift, NICER, and NuSTAR.

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First Published Date: 23 Dec, 11:54 IST